Twin Pregnancy FAQ
Your Questions Answered…
If you have just discovered your twin pregnancy you may feel overwhelmed and excited, you are likely to have many questions.
Provided below is some information and some other common FAQs on a twin pregnancy.
Will I have a Cesarean Section?
Not necessarily, having twins will increase your chance of a c-section but many expectant mothers will have a perfectly natural delivery.
A multiple pregnancy is classed high-risk due to the increased chance of complications. Things like preeclampsia, position of your twins like breech (feet or bottom first) and preterm labor, among others, are reasons a cesarean section may be performed.
Will I go through Labor Twice if I deliver Vaginally?
Generally no, the only part you will have to do twice is the pushing. I found the second twin easier. Some women however will go through the labor, or part thereof, twice. This is because the second twin is just nice and cosy in their belly, so they will need to dilate again for delivery.
Is Breastfeeding Twins possible?
Yes definitely, breastfeeding twins can be tricky but practice and patience will likely ensure a successful outcome.
How much Weight will I Gain?
Weight gain is something we all think about when we are expecting, especially when having twins. It really depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and body type what’s best for you. Generally women will gain 35 to 45 pounds to have a healthy twin pregnancy, it is important however to talk this over with your health care provider.
What are the Possibilities of a Hidden Twin?
So many of us wonder if we are carrying twins, from intuition to symptoms like relentless morning sickness. An ultrasound is the only way to confirm you are having more than one baby, so if only one baby is seen on the ultrasound, chances are you’re not expecting twins.
On rare occasions, often in early pregnancy, the picture may be misleading or even misjudge by an incompetent sonographer (ultrasound technician). Later on in a twin pregnancy, about 20 weeks, there would be no mistaking a second fetus on an ultrasound.
Talk with your doctor if you think a multiple pregnancy is the cards for you.
How do I know if I’m Having Twins?
The most conclusive way to determine if you are having twins is via an ultrasound. You would know you are having twins in the first part of your pregnancy. Other symptoms and signs like high hCG levels and severe morning sickness can sometimes indicate a multiple pregnancy.
What is Vanishing Twin Syndrome?
Vanishing Twin Syndrome is when one fetus of a set of twins seemingly disappears during pregnancy. Usually the vanishing twin will either be reabsorbed into the placenta, mother, or the other twin. Otherwise the mother will experience the miscarriage of one twin. This is really more widely known due to technology and early ultrasounds. It is likely to happen just as often now as it did before we had the technology of early ultrasounds.
What is normal Gestation for a Twin Pregnancy?
Obstetrician’s often say 38 weeks is full term for a twin pregnancy, inducing labor can be recommended by the 38th week. A preterm birth is twins born before the 37th week of pregnancy, about half of twins will be born prematurely. It’s impossible to know when your babies will be born, though preterm labor can sometimes be avoided this is not always the case.
Is Bed Rest Inevitable with a Twin Pregnancy?
Often bed rest is prescribed to mothers of multiples to help prolong pregnancy, reducing the risk of preterm labor. Bed rest can be partial or complete depending on the severity of your condition and the reason for bed rest. This will differ for each women and twin pregnancy.
More and more health care professionals are less likely to put a mother of twins on bed rest, higher order pregnancies however are more likely to be prescribed with this.
How do I know if I’m having Identical or Fraternal Twins?
Identical twins are formed when one sperm fertilizes one egg then splits to create two fetuses. Fraternal twins are when two eggs are realized then are fertilized by two separate sperm. Fraternal twins may look very similar as families do or they may look completely different.
Knowing the type of twin pregnancy you are having (identical or fraternal) can determine the type of care you may require during your pregnancy. Things your ultrasound can tell you if there one or two placentas and how many amniotic sacs there are.
Here are a few ways to determine the type of twins you are having, Identical (monozygotic) or Fraternal (dizygotic):
- A shared placenta can mean identical twins, though sometimes identical twins have their own placenta. Fraternal twins always have their own, though their placentas can be fused together on occasion. This can be determined with an ultrasound or examination of the placenta after birth. An inspection of the placenta or ultrasound is not always conclusive.
- If you have girl boy twins they will be fraternal, remember that same sex twins can also be fraternal twins. Identical twins are always the same gender.
- Identical twins will always have the same blood type as well as the same DNA. Fraternal twins may or may not have the same blood type but their DNA would be different. A DNA test can be done after birth to determine if they are identical or fraternal twins, this is the most reliable way to know for sure.
Note: When identical twins are born, yes they have the same DNA but as they get older each twin’s DNA can change (as it can with us all). This is due to everyday things for example diet, sickness and sunlight. This is not as dramatic as it sounds – your DNA is always yours.
- Monoamniotic twins are always identical twins. In the uterus they share the same amniotic sac and placenta (Monochorionic) but have their own umbilical cord. Commonly known as Mo-Mo Twins, monoamniotic monochorionic twins. As they share a sac there is a risk the cords could tangle. Monozygotic twins occur when the egg splits later than usual at about 9 days after fertilization.
- If Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (or TTTS) occurs then your twins will be identical (monozygotic). TTTS is an abnormality in a monochorionic placenta that causes an uneven blood supply transferred between twins. This is dangerous to the survival of your twins, some cases are more severe than others.
- It is important to know that not all identical twins will appear identical. Though they will look very alike, they may look more like sisters rather than twin sisters.
Many people wonder if identical twins have the same fingerprints. Click here to find out: Identical Twins Fingerprints
Are Twins Hereditary?
Identical twins is one of those things that just happens, it’s not known to be hereditary.
Fraternal twins on the other hand can be run in families but only through the mother. This is because fraternal twins are created from two eggs that have been released, called hyper ovulation, only women can do this. The gene for hyper ovulation however can be passed down from father to daughter.
It’s important to know that not all fraternal twins are hereditary. Basically hereditary or not twins and multiples are an amazing phenomenon.
A twin pregnancy can also be the result of IVF or fertility treatment.
What are the Symptoms of Having Twins?
Symptoms of a twin pregnancy differ from women to women, common complaints are severe morning sickness and fatigue. An ultrasound is really the only way to actually know if you are expecting twins.
What is the NICU?
If your babies are born early or have medical complications, then they are likely to spend some time in the NICU, which means Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They may stay for a few days to several weeks, it all depends on how premature your twins may be. In the NICU the Nurses will provide optimal care for premature babies to grow healthy and strong. There are a lot of different machines including incubators to help your growing babes.