Are pregnancy symptoms worse in twins?
Pregnancy and childbirth in a double pack: what is different?
The greatest danger in a twin pregnancy is that the babies will be born prematurely, as labor can start prematurely. The reason for this is an often weakened cervix, which opens too early under the pressure of the growing babies and can thus possibly even trigger a miscarriage. During every examination as part of prenatal care, it is therefore checked whether the cervix is still tightly closed. Premature rupture of the bladder is also a common cause of early onset of labor. For this reason, twin pregnancies generally last a few weeks less than singles.
In 20 percent of all twin pregnancies, a so-called gestosis (pregnancy poisoning) develops in the last trimester of pregnancy. The three main symptoms are swelling of the hands, legs and face combined with sudden weight gain due to water retention in the body, high blood pressure (140/90) and protein in the urine. The most important thing in all of these cases is to listen to your own body and to see a doctor at regular intervals, because only precise laboratory and ultrasound examinations can determine whether the babies and yourself are doing well and whether there are any risks.
The usual complaints during pregnancy such as nausea, tiredness, digestive problems and water retention, but also fluctuations in feelings, can be more pronounced in a “double pregnancy”, but this should not be expected. There are pregnant women with two babies in their stomachs who are better off than many expectant mothers with only one child.
Hello there we are! How and when are twins discovered?
With the help of modern ultrasound, a multiple pregnancy can be detected from the seventh week. If the two of them play hide and seek with each other at first, however, it can sometimes take a little longer for the doctor to focus on both of them, and then it is an advantage for most surprised twin mothers that the ultrasound scan is done lying down. Otherwise it would literally tear the ground away from under some people's feet.
Triplets or quadruplets tend to overlap in early pregnancy and only gradually show up in the ultrasound. But do not worry - thanks to the precise examinations during pregnancy, a surprise during the birth is no longer to be expected today!
Preparation for childbirth
If the twins are your first children, there is no harm in attending a antenatal class. In addition to pregnancy gymnastics, various breathing and relaxation techniques are practiced, which help to deal with labor properly and to better endure the pain of childbirth during childbirth.
At large clinics or through midwives, you will certainly also have the opportunity to establish contact with other twin mothers. Since the birth of twins can start surprisingly early, you should not allow yourself too much time with important preparations. I had already packed my clinic suitcase from the 34th week, and that was a good thing, because at the beginning of the 35th week I went into labor one morning and four hours later my twins Margit and Astrid were born. The best thing to do is to prepare a personal checklist:
- Has the children's room been furnished or have the changes in your home been completed?
- Have you selected and ordered a twin stroller? Note that the delivery time can often take several weeks.
- Get the baby equipment, but only the most important things for the first few weeks, because you are sure to receive rich gifts. As a precautionary measure, get a breast pump at home in case breastfeeding does not work!
- Inquire about a suitable pediatrician!
- Do you have someone to give you a hand in the first few days after the birth?
- If you already have one or more children, find a babysitter in good time for the time you are in the clinic!
- Plan with your husband when he should divide up his vacation: some fathers stay at home immediately after the twins are born, for example to look after an older child or to take care of the necessary “official channels”. Many only take time off when their wife is home to make the first few days easier.
- Decide on two suitable names in good time! This will avoid a hasty decision in the delivery room or naming such as “pink romper” and “white romper” in the time until you and your partner have made a decision.
- Choose the name carefully because your children will have to carry it around for life. Keep in mind that individual differences should be made, especially with same-sex twins. Names like “Max” and “Moritz” may sound funny at first, but your children won't thank you later if you are bullied about it all the time.
- Avoid names with the same initials (Markus and Maria), since abbreviated first names could lead to confusion or names that rhyme (Hanna and Anna). But even names like “Julian” and “Julia” are not really original for twins!
Relocate: yes or no
If you are considering relocating due to an extreme lack of space, the best time would be in the middle third of the pregnancy. Once the twins are born, these endeavors often turn out to be very difficult, especially if you have little or no help. That is, of course, easier said than done, because I know from my own experience that it is not exactly easy to find a larger apartment or a house in a relatively short time - one was prepared for one baby, but not two - that was still to meet many practical requirements and to fit into the financial leeway. If moving is initially out of the question for you, you can also use a little creativity to make your current home “twin-friendly”.
- Cots can often later be converted into beds for young people or even desks.
- Changing tables can be converted into furniture for later purposes, in which you can store toys, for example.
- If there is not enough space for a changing table, there is the option of installing a “changing board” on the cot, which can also be folded up using a hinge and attached to the wall.
- A twin father designed and constructed a “stick cot” for the twins so that his three children could fit into a small nursery.
- If the apartment is very small, consider moving temporarily to the living room to sleep and leaving the children in the bedroom.
When to the clinic?
Even if the contractions do not yet occur at intervals of between five and ten minutes, if you have an impending twin birth you should go to the hospital in good time or at least talk to your midwife or your doctor about what needs to be done. This is especially true if the journey to the hospital is longer than half an hour. For many mothers it is reassuring to be in the hospital when labor begins, for others the sterile environment is uncomfortable and they want to stay at home as long as possible. However, if you have an upcoming twin birth, you shouldn't take any chances, and no maternity hospital will turn you back, even if you arrive a day early.
90 percent of all twin births end happily and that is not least thanks to the enormous medical and technical progress. Even so, it should be mentioned that having more than one baby at a time is not the most natural thing in the world for us. A careful selection of the maternity clinic with an attached neonatal intensive care unit (premature baby unit) is therefore strongly recommended in the interests of the future twin parents, so that the correct measures can be taken immediately in the event of complications, both for the newborn children and for the mother.
More about twins here.
- Hauenschild, L .: Twins - double the sweet burden, Buchverlag Für die Frau, Leipzig 1998.
- Barron, J. D ..: She has a baby and I have the crisis, Barron, Goldmann Verlag Munich 1999.
Further contributions by the author can be found here in our family handbook
Sigrun Rux, journalist, specialties: medicine and psychology
Created on January 30th, 2002, last changed on January 30th, 2002
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