Surprise: it’s twins!

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Discovering that you’re pregnant is already a big surprise. Discovering that you and your partner are expecting twins is a whole new level. Here are a few things to expect when you’ve found out that you’ve received a double blessing.


What to expect during pregnancy

As you might guess, bringing two little bodies into the world is trickier than one. For starters, mothers of twins are expected to gain up to 50 percent more weight during pregnancy. Anywhere from 16 to 20 kilos is considered perfectly normal, though some moms may gain even more. Bear in mind that only maybe 5 of those kilos come from the actual fetuses. The rest is the added blood volume, amniotic fluid, water weight and other things necessary to make sure the two infants develop properly.

Moms carrying twins also need to eat more to make sure that both babies get sufficient nutrients. Although recommendations vary, most doctors advise an extra 600 calories per day—that’s roughly 33 percent more than a normal, healthy adult woman would have to eat to maintain body weight.

The only problem with needing to eat that much is that as the twins grow, the mother literally loses space to digest. This tends to lead to heartburn, acid reflux and nausea. In order to get the proper caloric intake, pregnant women should eat small meals throughout the day (chew and swallow slowly) and avoid eating too close to bedtime. It’s also important to get extra vitamins and minerals, especially iron, magnesium and the ever-important folic acid.

Delivery and birth risks

Expecting women with twins are at a higher risk for a premature birth. Ideally, the fetuses should stay in the womb a minimum of 32 weeks before birth, but many twins do not make it that far. If born sooner, the chances are high that the twins will need to spend some extra time in intensive care in the hospital.

The actual labor process, as one might expect, also tends to be longer and more complicated. Sometimes one or both babies may have to be removed with a C-section, even if the mother has expressed a preference for a natural birth. Many doctors strongly advise using an epidural, both because the pain can be intense and because there is always a possibility of an emergency C-section. This is also why many hospitals suggest that twins be delivered in an operating room instead of a standard birthing room.

Looking for a doctor for your OB/GYN, WOMEN – GYNECOLOGY questions? We recommend:
Makawan Tananunkul, M.D. Makawan Tananunkul, M.D.
Pulmonary Critical Care, Samitivej Srinakarin
Questions about your pregnancy, child birth or life with an infant? Ask the Doctor!

Recovery and settling in

Unfortunately, having twins does put some extra strains on the mother, both emotionally and physically. The two little ones will most likely have slightly different (and, like all newborns, erratic) sleeping schedules, meaning both parents will get even less sleep than they otherwise would. To make matters tougher, if mom is breastfeeding, she’ll have to pump practically around the clock. These factors may help explain why mothers with twins are estimated to be at a 43 percent higher risk for postpartum depression. If you’re having an especially hard time, consider seeing a counselor or a therapist. Interestingly, although it can be aggravating at times, breastfeeding can actually help counter postpartum. Some studies show that the process releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps lift your mood.

Photo Credit: donnierayjones via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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