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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Twin Pregnancy & Multiple Birth Q&A
Twin Pregnancy & Multiple Birth Q&A
Expecting twins or suspect you may be pregnant with twins ? When parents find out they are having twins their initial reaction is often one of shock and disbelief. A twin pregnancy can turn this to anxiety about how will they cope and what to expect, regardless of whether or not this is a first pregnancy.

Most couples have a lot of questions that they need answering and here we try and answer your most common queries in brief but for more detailed information. please refer to the other articles under our Multiple Pregnancy section.
Pregnant with Twins
Twins occur in about 1 in 65 pregnancies and the incident of twins has increased over the last 20 years as more mothers are leaving it later to have their children and more people have assisted conception treatment like IVF.
Some factors can influence the likelihood of having twins and these include;
  • Family history, but only on the mother's side. However, this is only linked with fraternal twins (non-identical). There seems to be less influence if twins are on the father's side of the family.
  • Age. Statistics show that women in their late 30s or older are more likely to conceive twins.
  • Previous children. The chances of having twins increases with the number of children you already have.
  • There are many other influencing factors see our other articles under Multiple Pregnancy for more information.
Twins occur in one of two ways:
  • Two eggs may be released at the same time and fertilised by separate sperm. These will result in non-identical or fraternal twins and can be of opposite sexes. They will look no more alike than any other siblings.
  • One egg may become fertilised and will split into two within the next 2 weeks. These twins will be of the same sex and they will be genetically identical.
  • Siamese twins are identical twins but the split occurs later. between 13 and 17 days.
  • For more information on conception of twins and triplets. see our other articles under Twins Tips - Multiple Pregnancy. You may also find our Twins Facts & Trivia section interesting too.
Will I have severe morning sickness?
A lot of the normal common complaints associated with early pregnancy can be worse with twin pregnancies. Symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue are caused as your body gets used to the increase in hormone levels and normally level off at about three months. However. with twin pregnancies the hormone levels are even higher which is why some mothers experience worse sickness and feel more tired.

Are there more antenatal tests with a twins pregnancy?
Unless there is a reason to think otherwise. most people don't know they are expecting twins until the first ultrasound scan. normally between 16 and 18 weeks. although depending on your maternity unit this could be as soon as 12 weeks. So for the first four months expect the same routine tests and examinations as for any pregnancy.

However. once a twin pregnancy is confirmed you will have more scans than for a single pregnancy. usually every four weeks until 32 weeks then fortnightly until birth. Routine blood tests remain the same as in any pregnancy unless there is a medical problem.

Will I gain more weight ?
As in any pregnancy weight gain is only a rough guide and some women will put on more while others put on less. In a twin pregnancy. you can expect to gain between 35 and 45lbs (2.5-3 stone). which is roughly 10lbs more than in a single pregnancy. In the first trimester expect to gain 5-10lbs and then roughly 1-2lbs for each subsequent week. For more guidance on weight gain and nutrition see our article Pregnancy Diet &; Nutrtion with Multiples

Are there more complications with a twins pregancy?
The main risk with any multiple pregnancy is premature labour and birth. about half of twin pregnancies are delivered before 37 weeks which is classed as term for a twin pregnancy. Another complication of identical twin pregnancies is twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) which. if not detected and treated. can lead to premature labour or even death of one or both babies.
For more information please see our detailed articles including Twins &; Multiple Births : Potential Risks.

What is Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion Syndrome?
TTTS is a serious complication that only occurs in identical twin pregnancies. It is a problem with the placenta where one baby receives all the nutrients whilst the other receives none. It is often detected by scan where one baby is noicably smaller than the other. There may also be no fluid surrounding the smaller baby.If left untreated. the smaller baby may die from lack of nutrients and the larger baby will have too much fluid which can lead to pressure on the heart and subsequent heart failure. The mother may also notice increased fluid around her bump and breathlessness.
For more information on TTTS. please see our more detailed articles on Twin to twin Transfusion Syndrome and Monochorionic-Monoamniotic Twins& ;and visit our Useful Links for organisations that help support parents.

Will my babies be born prematurely?
There is a greater risk of premature labour in twin pregnancies but it is not a foregone conclusion that you will give birth prematurely just because there is more than one baby. 50% of twin pregnancies go to full term. Taking extra care of yourself. eating well and getting plenty of rest. especially in the very tiring third trimester. will improve your chances of a full term pregnancy. However. sometimes labour comes on early or an early delivery is needed and it's important to remember than nothing you or the maternity staff do can prevent this.

Will I have to have a caesarean section?
Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a Caesarean section depends on which way round the first baby is lying. In most twin pregnancies. both babies are delivered head-first. although breech (bottom-first) babies are more common than in single pregnancies. If the baby is head-first. a vaginal delivery is usually planned. In labour. the first twin is handled no differently from a single pregnancy. If the first baby is breech. vaginal delivery is still possible but a number of decisions need to be made to ensure the safety of the babies and the mother. Sometimes. as in single pregnancies. emergency Caesareans are needed. and occasionally. routine Caesareans are planned for medical reasons.
Read also Giving Birth to Twins - Caesarean &; Vaginal Birth and Twin Pregnancy - Labour &; Birth for more information.

Will my babies have to go to Special Care?
About 50 per cent of twins need some time in Special Care. If they are born before 32 weeks or weigh less than 3.5lbs then they will need some special care. Also. twins with TTTS or other medical problems usually spend some time in SCBU.

Caring & Raising Twins

They may also have a feeding tube in their nose. This is a tiny soft tube which goes into their tummy through which either formula or expressed breastmilk is put. Tiny babies find feeding very tiring and this method of feeding keeps them nourished without getting over-tired.

For further information on special care please see our more detailed article on Premature Birth - Twins & Tripletsin Special Care.

Is it really possible to breastfeed my twins?
The simple answer is yes. it's not only possible but successfully done by many mothers of twins and triplets. Although it can seem daunting. breastfeeding twins is no different in principle to breastfeeding a single baby. just make sure the positioning is right for both of them. Your body will make enough milk to feed two babies but it is important to remember to maintain a good diet yourself. regardless of how many babies you are feeding.
For further information on special care please see our more detailed articles on breastfeeding multiples and also our Useful Links for organizations that help support parents wishing to breastfeed.

Which is the best type of twin pushchair / buggy or pram to buy?
This is really down to personal preferences and what sort of use your double pushchair. buggy or pram will get. Before you decide it's worth thinking of a few things. " Will it fit into your car? " How heavy/light is it? ". Ask friends/relatives or other parents of twins on for their id

For more information and guidance on selecting a twin/double buggy to suit your needs. see our advice under Buying Guides Pushchairs for Twins. Triplets & Quads and Top 10 Twins Pushchair Considerations.

Do twins have their own language. Is the telepathic link true?
Twins can develop their own language which is known as Idioglossia or Cryptophasia. Much research has been done into the 'links' between twins but nothing so far has been definitely proven. There have been many tales of twins experiencing each other's pain. or turning up wearing the same outfits for example but scientists cannot explain this phenomenon.
Twin babies are known to communicate with each other long before and often long after they can speak properly. Again no scientific explanation has fully explained the reasons why this happens.

Will my twins reach be slower to reach their developmental milestones?
Twins are often slower to talk than single children but not always. It is quite normal for twins to be as much as six months behind singletons and to speak in shorter simpler sentences. Most grow out of it but some may continue to have speech difficulties.
Sometimes the cause is down to their premature birth but studies are currently researching for a better understanding. You can help your children by spending one on one time. reading and talking to them from an early age.

For more information on Language and Development see our more detailed articles

Will I harm their individuality if I dress them alike?
There are some advantages to dressing your babies or even toddlers alike. It looks cute. it celebrates their special bond and. for a busy parent. it is hard enough to arrange one outfit without having to decide on another.
There is no specific research that indicates that dressing alike has produced any negative effect on twins. However many psychologists do recommend against it for parents that wish to emphasize individuality. Nancy Segal. author of 'Entwined Lives' said "I believe that it is okay. on occasion. I would not advocate it at all for fraternal twins. Identical twins are a different issue. They might enjoy it. It should not get to the point where they rely on it for attention."

Ultimately. go with whatever feels right for you until the time comes when your twinfants want to decide for themselves. Dressing your twins differently also helps others to distinguish them.
Please also see our article on Encouraging Individuality for more information.& ;

How do I choose my babies names ?
All parents strive to select the perfect name for their offspring. but parents of twins or multiples may find themselves particuarly challenged to make the right choice for two. three or more children. In addition to deciding on the right individual name. they have to consider how the names work together as a set.
Should the names rhyme? Share the same initial? Compliment or contrast each other? Be individualistic or unique? These are just some of the strategies that parents employ for evaluating name combinations

The two important things to remember when naming any baby is firstly you have to be happy with the name and secondly your child will have that name forever.
Naming twins can take a number of routes. Like many issues in raising multiples. opinions are divided on this subject. Many advocate forsaking "twinny" names in favour of individuality. Others seek out complimentary names or combinations that begin with the same initial.

Do twins behave differently than singletons or other siblings?
Many behaviour issues are related to rivalry or competition amongst multiples who seem born to bicker. It even has a 'name'. Twin Escalation Syndrome. the tendency of multiples to intensify and expand their behaviours in reaction to each other.
Simply put. one twin cries so the other cries louder. making the first cry louder still and so on. Similar situations occur with behaviour. One twin thinks it's funny to slurp his drink and does so for attention. The second twin. to divert the attention to him. will blow bubbles into his drink and so it goes.

Twins will always compete for attention and it should be dealt with in the same way as you would treat any naughtiness. And the quickest and simplest resolution. at least on a temporary level. is to separate them. TES only works if each twin has someone to escalate with.
Remember though. just as twins may be double trouble at times. they also display very loving and caring behaviour towards each other and when TES happens with laughter and giggles it all balances out in the end !

I am exhausted. Will this ever end?
In a word, yes! Really, honestly believe me it will ! The first 12 months are the hardest but your twinfants will soon grow and although it never gets easy, it will get easier. Establishinh a routine and remaining flexible to their changing needs together with a support network will help you get through the early daze!

My babies are in Special Care. what can I expect ?
Special care baby units aim to provide the care that babies would have had in the womb. supplementing this with help with breathing. feeding and warmth. Depending on their condition at birth. your babies may or may not be incubators. They will probably have wires connected to them to monitor their hearts and breathing. Sometimes they may be ventilated which means they will have tubes in their mouths or noses to help them breathe until they are strong enough to do it on their own.

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