Two heartbeats, plus your own, pump within you. You’ve been entrusted with two little lives growing inside you. Special considerations and special risks come with a pregnancy of twins. You may need special attention or special care, but at the end of these long nine months, you will have two special bundles of love.
How Do You Get Twins
Twins develop in two main ways. An egg is fertilized with sperm and creates a zygote. The zygote can split into two, creating identical twins, who share identical DNA. Fraternal twins are the other type of twins; these do not share DNA. Fraternal twins develop when a woman releases two eggs in a month and a separate sperm fertilizes each egg. The pregnancy is generally the same for both.
How Often Do Twins Come
According to the University of Virginia Health System, only 3 percent of pregnancies produce twins or more babies. This number is up 59 percent since 1980, thanks to fertility treatments, which contributes to many multiple births. Your probability of producing twins is raised if you have twins in your family, if you’ve had twins before or if you are an older mother. African American moms have the highest chance of having twins, while Asian have the least chance.
What Happens in Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy with twins can feel accelerated. The early symptoms of pregnancy, such as morning sickness and fatigue, can come on sooner and stronger than in those carrying only one child. You may show sooner than your friends who are expecting one baby; your uterus and stomach will grow faster and bigger because you have those two little ones in there. You may go into labor sooner than 40 weeks as your children start to run out of room in your uterus.
How Can You Prepare
Do not be too tough on yourself. It’s normal to feel worse than those pregnant with one child. Give yourself lots of rest and eat healthily to try to ward off any potential problems. Understand that you will likely put on more weight than other moms-to-be. This is normal and healthy for the babies. Enjoy the nursery and home preparations for the two newcomers to your family.
Twins and the women pregnant with them are more at risk for preeclampsia, intense morning sickness and early labor. If you have twins in your family history or used fertility treatment, you should discuss this with your doctor when you find out you are pregnant. As soon as he can hear those two heartbeats, you can both start preparing for the special considerations of twins.
- twins in the mirror image by Daria Miroshnikova from Fotolia.com