Are you having twins? What to expect during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding

12 Sep 2019

Having a baby is exciting and challenging enough, but what if you’re having twins? Chances are you’ll feel all kinds of emotions: shock, joy, excitement, and anxiety, just to name a few. Certainly, there are many differences an expectant mom of multiples will experience compared to moms expecting a single baby, but it’s nothing that you won’t be able to handle.

Statistically, mothers who are carrying multiple babies, like twins, are more likely to develop complications during pregnancy. But with advances in medicine, serious complications are becoming rarer, and the vast majority of moms deliver happy, healthy babies.

Rest should be a top priority for moms expecting twins. You’re growing not one, but two babies inside your body. Sleep may be difficult as pregnancy is known not to be the most comfortable experience – especially in the last trimester. Try doing some light, gentle exercise during the day such as yoga, Pilates, or swimming; often gentle exercise will help you sleep at night.

Weight gain in pregnancy is to be expected, and so is the added weight gain when expecting more than one. Remember, the weight that you gain in pregnancy is not all necessarily fat. The amniotic fluid, placentas, increased blood-supply, and the babies themselves all add to the high number you see on the scale. So try not to feel dismayed by this; it’s a good thing to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy.

When expecting more than one baby, it is recommended to visit your doctor or midwife more often than if you were carrying a single baby. The number of visits will depend on your individual situation, and whether or not your babies share a placenta (those who do are more likely to experience complications). 

More than half of twin pregnancies result in births before 37 weeks, whereas single babies are usually born at 40 weeks. Even though the birth will be sooner than most other babies, three to four weeks’ premature is not a cause for concern, unless there were complications during pregnancy or the birth itself.

When giving birth to twins, you are more likely to deliver by C-section. However, if you want to try for a vaginal delivery, it is still possible: you should discuss this with your midwife and obstetrician early on in your pregnancy so they can advise you on what’s best. 

There’s no reason to think that breastfeeding twins is impossible. Logistically, it may be more challenging, however, it’s not only doable, but it’s also very rewarding. You may decide to breastfeed one baby at a time if it’s easier and you’d like to bond with each baby one-on-one, or you may find it a great way for the three of you to bond. However, you may want to start off feeding one at a time until they get the hang of latching properly. 

It is going to be a case of trial and error, so don’t expect to get it right immediately, and don’t be hard on yourself when you don’t. Ask for help, whether it’s from your partner, midwife, or a breastfeeding specialist.

If you can, consider investing in a nursing pillow – there are ones designed especially for nursing twins. These will make nursing a lot more comfortable for you and your babies.