Multiple Pregnancy: Twins or More
A multiple pregnancy can make Reference morning sickness Opens New Window worse during the first months of pregnancy. You can treat your symptoms at home, unless you have become dehydrated or are not getting enough to eat because of vomiting.
Learn the signs of Reference preterm labor Opens New Window. They may include:
- Cramping similar to menstrual cramps.
- Abdominal cramps, possibly with diarrhea.
- Contractions of your uterus that don't go away, about 4 or more in 20 minutes or about 8 or more within 1 hour.
- Pressure in your lower back, especially if it comes and goes.
- An increase in your usual amount of vaginal discharge.
Call your health professional immediately if you have symptoms of preterm labor.
Call your health professional or go to the hospital if you begin bleeding from the vagina or if your water breaks.
Self-care for multiple pregnancy
If you are pregnant with twins or more, it's important to:
- Reference Get enough nutritious calories, folic acid, iron, and calcium to nourish you and your babies (fetuses).
- Avoid things that could hurt your babies, such as:
- Reduce your physical activity. Most doctors will recommend that you stop physically demanding exercise after 24 weeks of a multiple pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about walking or swimming.
- Get plenty of rest, especially after the 24th week of pregnancy.
- Consider whether you need to change your daily work activities, based on how well your pregnancy is going. Be sure to follow any advice to reduce your activity level.
- See your health professional often. Beginning in the 20th week of pregnancy, you may be checked every other week. Beginning at the 30th week, you may be checked more often.
For more information on what to expect during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth, see the topic Reference Pregnancy.
After the babies are born
Coping. Having a multiple pregnancy and Reference caring for two or more infants at the same time can be overwhelming and exhausting. Lack of sleep, the increased amount of work, less personal time, and trouble maintaining the home are common sources of frustration for parents of multiple infants.
With multiple newborns to care for, it is common to feel frustrated or guilty about not managing your life as easily as before. This is normal. Get extra help for as long as possible after your babies are born. Rest as often as you can during the day. Accept help from friends and family. They can bring meals, go grocery shopping, do household chores, or care for your children while you take some time for yourself.
Some women feel sad or depressed after having twins or more. If you feel depressed for longer than 2 weeks or if you have troubling or dangerous thoughts, see your health professional. It is important that you get treatment. For more information, see the topic Reference Postpartum Depression.
Consider joining a support group for parents of twins or more. Sharing your experience with other people who are in a similar situation may help you with the demands of caring for your babies. For more information, see the Other Places to Get Help section of this topic.
Breast-feeding? Reference Breast-feeding more than one baby can be challenging, but it helps to build the bond between you and each baby. It gives your babies excellent health benefits. If you plan to breast-feed your babies, seek out support and information from your health professional, the hospital, or a Reference lactation consultant Opens New Window before and after the birth. For more information, see the topics Reference Breast-Feeding and Reference Bottle-Feeding.
Parenting. Look for your new babies' personality differences and help them build their own identities over time. Give each of your children time alone with you. If you have an older child or children, schedule individual time with them too.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 8, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine