Pregnancy is usually an exciting and happy time in a woman’s life. For some women, that happiness and excitement is doubled when they find out they are carrying twins. A twin pregnancy can also usher in nervousness, fear and stress–over your own health and your babies’ health.
Get Plenty of Rest
Because moms carrying multiples are at a higher risk for pregnancy complications than those carrying a single baby, it is not uncommon for your health care provider to prescribe a great deal of rest, especially as you enter your third trimester. As your babies begin to grow in size and weight, the increased pressure put on your cervix can cause it to soften, sometimes leading to contractions and pre-term labor. Easing that pressure by lying down is believed by many health care providers to ease the pressure on your cervix, as well as on your uterus, lessening the possibility of contractions. Resting, especially on your left side, also increases blood flow to the uterus and placenta, focusing oxygen and vital nutrients where they are needed. It’s important to pay attention to any signals that you are doing too much, such as sudden lightheadedness, cramping, increased vaginal discharge or swelling of your extremities. Don’t be afraid to contact your health care provider if you feel something isn’t quite right, even if you can’t pinpoint why. Follow your health care provider’s recommendations when it comes to limiting physical activity and resting.
Keep Your Appointments
When you are carrying multiples, you will have frequent check-ups to track the babies’ growth and development and to monitor your health, especially for signs of pre-term labor or other health conditions, such as preeclampsia. It’s also not unusual for your health care provider to recommend frequent ultrasounds to check on your twins’ growth and anatomy. Generally, your appointments increase to every other week in the second trimester and every week in the third. While this high volume of appointments can be taxing mentally and physically, especially as your pregnancy progresses and just getting in and out of the car becomes a challenge, they are a vital component to helping ensure a healthy twin pregnancy.
Celebrate Your Weight Gain
This is one time in your life when gaining weight is a good thing. The recommended weight gain for a twin pregnancy is between 35 to 45 lbs., which translates to about 2,700 calories per day. While gaining this much weight makes some women nervous, gaining the right amount of weight is one of the best ways to give your babies a good start in life and to give your body the fuel it needs to carry your babies for as long as possible. According to Dr. James Gallo, an obstetrician in Hackensack, N.J., depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, your health care provider may suggest a more limited or higher calorie intake. It’s important to get your calories from a healthy diet, full of vegetables, fruits, proteins and healthy fats. When to gain is important, too, because a multiple pregnancy is often cut short of full term. Gaining weight early can help give your babies the nutrients and fat reserves they need.
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