Pregnancy App Article: "Twins and multiples"

Week 12
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Twins and multiples
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Two heartbeats on the scan? Few parents are prepared for the moment when they are told that they’re getting rather more than they bargained for on the baby front. 

But take it from Mumsnetters who have mothered multiples - it's the best thing that will ever happen to you. It’s just that you don’t know it yet.

It’s natural to feel mixed emotions, but you've got nine months to settle into the idea (and it's better to find out now than in the delivery room!). The trick is to strike a balance - preparing yourself for what is to come, without scaring yourself silly.

Everyone will have something to say on the subject, and some of what they have to say mightn't make you feel better. But take it with a pinch of salt. Experienced mums of more than one are quite confident that although the early days will be bloody hard work, in the long run, you will have the last laugh over your friends who are popping out a paltry one at a time.

What's happened?
Non-identical or fraternal twins (known as dizygotic) develop from two eggs being fertilised at the same time, by different sperm. They each have their own amniotic membrane, placenta and umbilical cord. They tend to run in families and are more common among older mums or if you have had fertility treatment.

Identical twins (monozygotic) come from one fertilised egg that splits into two separate embryos. Each of these has its own amniotic membrane and umbilical cord, but they usually share a placenta, depending on when the egg divides. They are the same sex and will be hard to tell apart. Their conception is simply chance!

Pregnancy with more than one
Aside from the emotional maelstrom, your pregnancy symptoms are, unfortunately, likely to be twice as trying. As well as eating for three, you will probably be vomiting and sleeping for three.

As time goes on, you will start to wonder just how much extra weight a human belly can contain. If your twins are fraternal, some of the extra weight will be an additional placenta and amniotic fluid. 

The aches and pains of pregnancy can be tedious enough when you are carrying a solitary baby; when you are carrying more than one, the strain on your bones and ligaments can feel like really hard work. 

To take some of the pressure off your pelvis, try getting down on all fours, resting your head on a cushion, and sticking your bum in the air. It is probably best to do this in the privacy of your own home, rather than in the Post Office - but whatever helps.

As your pregnancy progresses, prepare to be amazed by eight little limbs fighting for each bit of territory, and see if you can discern them individually: you might find that one baby is more active than the other.
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We found out at the 12-week scan that we were expecting twins. I promptly phoned in sick and went home to bed for the rest of the day - I went between shock, excitement and sheer terror.
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I remember it hitting me while I was cooking tea for me and my husband and looking in the cupboard and realising I would soon have to have five plates on the table.
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There are things that are much harder with two babies but you will find a way round them. You do cope, you get organised and find a way that works for you.
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I had a quite easy and fairly 'pleasant' birth with my twins. It was no worse than the birth of my son, except for the thought of having to push another one out. In the end, I didn’t even feel the second one come out!
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Getting two lots of 'I love you, mummy', two hugs and two kisses every night makes up for the extra work.
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Giving birth to two or more
Multiple births have a tendency to come early - and quickly - so you will be monitored more closely than a ‘singleton’, which means more hospital visits and extra scans. This can be mildly irritating, or rather reassuring, depending on your general approach to things. 

Water births and home births are usually ruled out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your birth has to be a hospital drama. If your pregnancy is normal, there is no reason why your twins shouldn’t be born vaginally. 

More useful tips
  • There's a wide range of double and triple buggies on the market, and even double slings
  • Consider buying a bigger cot that two babies can share, rather than two cots
  • You might struggle to stay on top of the laundry, so stock up on extras where possible - basics like sheets, vests, sleepsuits, and babygros 
  • Some baby stores offer good discounts for multiples
  • Many women successfully breastfeed twins (even triplets)
  • Never turn down an offer of help. This goes for all parents of newborns, of course, but with multiples you've a watertight case.
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