Finding out that you are pregnant is life-altering in itself, but finding out that you are pregnant with twins or triplets feels like you have hit the jackpot! But whether you are overjoyed or are simply overwhelmed by this news, the fact remains that you have to get through the pregnancy. Are the rules for this one the same as that for a singleton pregnancy?
Signs that you may be carrying multiples
Like most parents, you may have discovered that you are having multiples in the course of a routine ultrasound performed in the first trimester, not to mention, your slightly bigger than normal waist for the baby’s gestational age. When a woman is carrying one baby, she may be able to get away with wearing her usual clothes until week 16 or so; but if she is carrying multiples, week 12 itself might warrant an entirely new maternity wardrobe! Even the loosest kurti can’t hide a pregnancy with multiples for very long!
Also, when a woman is carrying multiple fetuses, she produces twice as much human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG; so don’t be surprised if you find yourself kneeling before the porcelain goddess in your bathroom as your morning sickness will certainly be worse than that of a singleton pregnancy.
All that extra weight
Don’t assume that carrying multiples automatically entitles you to putting on twice or three times the weight! Every additional fetus will only result in your putting on 5 to 6 kg, so lay off that rasmalaai; a multiple pregnancy means that you have to watch your weight gain even more carefully. The idea is to eat close to 300 cal for a single baby and 200 more for every additional fetus. More importantly, follow a diet that is rich in multi-grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The extra weight that you may put on will also bring with it aches and pains that you might have been otherwise spared in a singleton pregnancy. Wear shorts that have broad waist-bands under your clothes to provide maximum support for your growing belly. Stretching skin can be particularly painful with multiples, so stay well-moisturized with home remedies such as coconut or almond oil.
Twice or thrice the doctor’s visits
If you are carrying twins or triplets, you automatically are elevated to high risk pregnancy status. What this translates to, is your having to see your obstetrician more often for regular checkups that will help monitor your babies’ overall growth. If one of your babies is lagging behind or if your doctor anticipates premature labor, you may have to go on a few rounds of steroids to hasten the lung maturity of your babies.
If your babies are a result of fertility treatments, you are more than likely carrying fraternal twins or triplets, which means that each fetus has its own discrete placenta. But if you are carrying identical twins, your pregnancy may warrant more testing to check for abnormalities such as a twin-to-twin transfusion or even a shared umbilical cord.
Look what the stork delivered
Most multiple pregnancies do not go to full-term, so expect to meet your babies at closer to 36 weeks of gestation. In the case of triplets, if you make it to 32 weeks, consider yourself lucky. Anything more than three fetuses, assume that you will spend the last few months of your pregnancy on bed rest. Most women deliver twins and triplets through cesarean section as very often one twin is more eager to be born before the other is. Either way, this promises to be a special delivery!