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Finding out you are expecting twins


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When heading off for a first scan, most parents-to-be are anxious to know there is a healthy baby growing in there. But if during your appointment you end up finding out you are expecting twins you may be taken aback a bit and leave the hospital with more questions that you arrived with.

What causes a twin pregnancy?

According to NHS figures, around 1 in 65 pregnancies is a twin pregnancy. There is no known reason why twin pregnancies occur but if non-identical twins run in the mother’s side of the family you may be more likely to have twins yourself. The chances of having twins also rise with maternal age and the number of children you already have. IVF treatment also increases the likelihood of a twin pregnancy as multiple embryos are implanted.

Will my antenatal care be different?

Women expecting twins should be offered extra scans and antenatal appointments to monitor the babies and check they are growing properly. Mothers carrying twins have an increased risk of anaemia, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure so your blood pressure and urine will be checked regularly. The number of scans and check-ups you’ll receive will depend largely on how well you are, if there have been any complications and whether your babies are sharing a placenta.

Are pregnancy symptoms worse with twins?

expecting twinsAs you have higher levels of pregnancy hormones you may find that you suffer from morning sickness more than if you were expecting just one baby. You’ll probably find you put on more weight than you would in a single pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses and your bump gets bigger you may suffer from back pain due to the extra weight you’re carrying around. However, not all mothers of twins experience worse pregnancy symptoms.

Is there an increased risk of complications?

Multiple pregnancies have a greater risk of going into labour early and it is more likely that you’ll need a caesarean or another form of assisted delivery. During the pregnancy you may be more likely to suffer from some of the conditions listed above. However, keeping all your antenatal appointments can help catch potential complications early and the vast majority of twin pregnancies end in the safe delivery of two healthy babies.

Will I be able to have a vaginal delivery?

Almost half of all twins are born vaginally and, if the first twin is in the head down position ready for birth and there are no medical reasons why you shouldn’t have a vaginal birth, the decision is yours. After your first baby is born, you’ll be given an examination to determine the position of the second baby. Presuming all is fine, your waters will be broken and, as your cervix will already be dilated, the second twin will be born shortly afterwards. If you’d prefer or if your midwife recommends it you can opt to have an elective caesarean section.

Will my twins be identical?

Identical twins occur when one egg is fertilised then splits into two. Non-identical twins are more common and are a result of two eggs being fertilised and implanting into the womb. If you’re expecting identical twins then you’ll have either two boys or two girls while non-identical twins can be the same or a mixture of genders. Whether your twins share a placenta or not can offer a clue to the chances of them being identical but it is by no means a definite answer. A DNA test done after the birth is the most accurate way to find out if twins are identical.





About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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