So, you want to know how it feels like to be pregnant with twins? If you’ve just discovered you’re having twins, your head may be swimming with a million questions (as was mine), and you’re probably wondering how it actually feels to be pregnant with twins, and what some of the twin pregnancy symptoms are? If it’s anything like my twin pregnancy, it’s a whole different ball game to being pregnant with a singleton. You’re growing two babies in there, which is unfortunately twice the work (although for twice the joy, obviously.) So go make a mug of something warm, cosy up – and delve into my top insights and tips into a twin pregnancy that no one else will tell you. Now, let’s discover what a twin pregnancy really feels like….
Now this may have been something to do with experiencing one of the hottest EVER British summers during my twin pregnancy (Sooo hot, for months – literally everyone’s grass turned to straw, it was hotter than hell), but I can hand on heart say I have never felt tiredness quite like this. Everything seemed to take so much effort, just making breakfast for my son saw me having to take about 3 “breaks” to sit down and get my breath back! Before my maternity leave I used break times at work as literal nap times, instructing co-workers to come and wake me in 20 minutes. A walk 5 minutes to the post box seemed like a 10 mile run, at the end I pretty much just gave up and stopped going anywhere. Had this been my first pregnancy, therefore having no other children to care for, I’m pretty sure I would have spent most of it on the sofa or in bed.
During my first pregnancy I never felt tired to that extreme, I was still walking a long way into work up to and over my due date. This time around the thought of walking that same distance was an impossible feat. keep reading to discover what it feels like to be pregnant with twins…
Oh the tiredness…..
I drank a lot of Floradix, and tried to be kind on myself – but be prepared to feel a little more wrung out than you may be expecting. If you have things to get done, such as the nursery or stocking the freezer up with meals for those hectic newborn days (something I highly recommend, you cant stand there cooking up a chicken curry 7 days postpartum), get them done in the second trimester when you are feeling your likely best and enlist as much help as you can.
Extra Medical Care.
Whilst with a singleton pregnancy you check in with your midwife a handful of times, during a twin pregnancy you may start to feel like the scan room at the hospital is becoming a second home. For identical twins that share a placenta – like mine, you can expect to be scanned and monitored every two weeks the whole way through (for non-identical twins I believe its every 4 weeks). You will be on first name basis with many of the consultants and midwife team and you and your babies will be thoroughly checked every time to ensure your health is ok and the babies are thriving.
Sometimes one twin can find it hard to share all the goodness of the placenta, so this helps to monitor things like that with a close eye. Whilst this can seem inconvenient if you have work and other children to contend with, we really our lucky to get such hands on care. Plus you get to “see” your duo more often, which is always exciting and ask any questions about the pregnancy or birth that you’ve had on your mind.
Oh joy, the sickness. I wont call it “morning” sickness as we all know that’s a big fat lie and it in fact it lasts all of the live long day. With my first and single pregnancy I did not feel sick at all, with twins it was constant up until week 12 (thank god it subsided!). After my initial virtuous first few weeks of trying to nurture my growing baby (I had no idea then!) with as much kale and lentils you could shake a stick at, the nausea then started to kick in.
Up until the second trimester I felt like I pretty much survived on buttered toast and oven chips as that was about all I could stomach, I found myself in bed by 8pm every night, moaning to my husband to bring me chips in bed. It was a beautiful time! This of course may not be the case for everyone, but maybe stock up on some ginger tea and peppermints just in case.
Whilst its normal, and completely healthy to gain wait during pregnancy – you may feel slightly bigger than if you were just cooking one baby. This extra weight can be attributed not only to the babies’ combined weights, but also extra fluid, tissue, uterine growth, and the increased blood volume needed to supply the placenta(s) with enough of the good stuff for two or more babies. Whilst a single pregnancy can see you gaining around 25 – 35 pounds, with a twin pregnancy you can expect around 25 – 50 pounds.
I gained 3 stone, it may have been more but I stopped looking. It may also have been something to do with the magnum I just had to have every evening during the second and third trimester but hey, needs must. Whilst this extra pressure on your body (and wardrobe) is hard, its fun seeing the horrified look on peoples faces when they gooily ask when you’re due “bet you’re ready, looks like any day now!?” only to tell them you still have 3 months to go. This picture of me on the left, I’m six months pregnant. Yup.
Feeling a tad uncomfortable?
I kind of almost want to sugar coat this for you but let’s be realistic here. When I think about how it feels to be pregnant with twins, one of the first things I remember vividly was how uncomfortable I was. Like, super uncomfortable – particularly at the end. An all consuming constant discomfort all.the.time. Trying to sleep – uncomfortable (just rolling over takes mental preparation), on the sofa – uncomfortable (buy a new one, big enough so your partner can’t reach you unless its to give you a foot rub, which is what we did.) Sitting at a desk, standing, walking. It’s just all uncomfortable, all of it. There are two babies making house in there so it’s really to be expected.
I felt very envious of other pregnant mummas out there who just effortlessly walked everywhere, did weekly Pilates sessions and still painted their toenails – who were these aliens?! How can you ease this horror I’m speaking of?! Well, there are a few things you can do to help – I found the only place I felt relief was in water. So this meant nightly baths and a lot of swimming, so much swimming in fact that I joined a nearby gym just so I could go whenever I wanted – my son even learnt to swim during this time we went so often. The feeling of stepping in that pool is heavenly as the weight of the bump just lifts away, you can float around like a giant starfish and be free! Also its the only way I found to exercise comfortably, which is an added bonus.
The other option is try to squeeze in some pampering, some pregnancy massages and reflexology all gave me some relief and a way of trying to keep me grounded.
Whatever hopes I had when I discovered I was pregnant of my first natural vaginal delivery seemed to dwindle to a tiny flicker once we discovered it was twins. Not only would I need to be induced early due to them sharing a placenta, but under the guidance of the hospital consultants we realised a planned c section was the most sensible option for our situation. Many hospitals prefer a c section delivery when its twins so be prepared for this, and as always when births are concerned – Its important to know when to speak up, and when to listen.
Was it the calm, centered experience I was hoping for? No, did my babies get to snuggle down with me that night – nope, they spent the night in nicu due to a staff shortage. In reality things went slightly wonky in the recovery room and I struggled to feed and get out of bed without going dizzy, then one baby lost weight and our stay ended up being a five night stop. Be prepared for things to happen, take more baby clothes than you think you need (people needed to bring us more), take more everything! In fact to be sure you don’t forget anything read my Top Tips on what to take to your C Section birth here (if that’s the road you choose, of course.)
However did we leave the hospital in one piece with two healthy babies? Yes, and for that we were eternally grateful, I was mindful with a twin delivery we may have to endure the anxiety of having two babies in Nicu care but thankfully that was not necessary. Although I feel I left that hospital a little more broken than when I arrived, we were in fact very lucky parents.
What to do now…
Twin pregnancy can be a bit of a roller coaster, and a lonely one. I thankfully had a couple of friends who knew what I was going through, which helped immeasurably. Seek out other twin mummas who know how it feels to be pregnant with twins, are there any that live close by? They may prove to be beacons of knowledge and a source of comfort, find them! Search social media for twin support groups, especially ones in your area (these are super useful for picking up second hand bargains), in the coming months – even years, you’ll need this support system to lean on when you feel like you don’t have a clue what you’re doing!
Research a good woman’s health physiotherapist near you, your tummy is stretching a lot further than it would with a single pregnancy. Mine was invaluable for a quicker abdominal, back and pelvic floor recovery post birth and she gave me the confidence and hacks to help exercise without doing further damage.
Rally round a good support system and don’t be afraid to assign them jobs! People like to help! This is not time to be a big martyr super mum and act like you can do it all while balancing groceries on your head, you will need help. Be it a neighbor, family, friends – talk to people now and suggest how they can make life a bit easier for you if they are willing to help.
I enlisted the support of two kind mum’s off the school run to help take my youngest to school once my husband was back at work after 3 weeks off, this was a huge help and took a lot of unnecessary stress out of the morning routine in those hazy newborn days. Do you have a nearby family member that could help with laundry? Can your mum make you some batches of food to stock the freezer up with, if you have a friend that’s an excellent baker ask them to whip you up some delicious treats for when you return from hospital!
Stock up your kitchen! I cant stress this enough, but it will make your life easier in the long run. Easy meals in the freezer to give you a nutritious boost when the babies are small and you have no energy or time to cook – simple things that can be whipped up quickly for any smaller children (this is not a time to worry about dishing up fish fingers instead of a homemade kale omelette!) For me I brought a few key treats to have at the back of the cupboard to indulge in, luxury biscuits, strong fresh coffee and my favourite wine (hooray!) were all waiting tucked at the back of the pantry for those times I needed them! Also lots of your favourite healthy snacks, dried figs, cereal and nuts and things you can grab when your starving and your brain is tired and hazy.
Buy some little luxuries for you, money may be tighter than ever (so. many. nappies.) but having the odd luxury stashed away in your bathroom may make you feel just a little bit more human in those early newborn days when you cant remember what your name is. Bath salts, a new lipstick – whatever floats your boat, the first bath I had when we arrived home from hospital (once I figured out how to get in and out!) was so blissful after my maternity ward shower (which involved sitting on a plastic shower chair and being hosed down by a night nurse who insisted I simply HAD to get up and start walking), I felt much more human afterwards.
Read.Read.Read! One of the most valuable ways to keep on top of how it feels to be pregnant with twins, is to go to your library or raid the bookshop and grab everything you can find on how to raise twins babies – especially if this is your first pregnancy. Ignorance is certainly not bliss in this situation and knowledge.is.power! Are you going to be bottle feeding? How much formula should they have and when?
Find some printable guides and stick them on the fridge. How many wet nappies should they have? How do you feed them tandem? (You tube has some good video tips), whats a high temperature? How do you get them up and down the stairs when you’re by yourself? I could go on, and on – but the point is its good to be prepared and have this information already in your mind to instill some confidence in you when those bundles of joy arrive and turn your world upside down.
Most importantly – Relax. You’ve got this. Enjoy the crazy ride, it will stop I promise.
For more twin pregnancy tips and resources, go check out www.twiniversity.com. Their book was my bible!
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