What to Expect When You’re Pregnant With Twins
Finding out you’re pregnant can come with so many different emotions: joy, celebration, disbelief, worry… Finding out that you’re having two babies will likely also come as a shock. While some parents find the news as even more reason to celebrate, others may feel a bit overwhelmed.
Since this is uncharted territory for so many people, below is an overview of what to expect, and how to maximize your rest and comfort while your body is busy creating two little human beings.
How Likely is it to Get Pregnant with Twins?
There are several factors that could increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant with twins.
1. A Family History of Twins
There are two types of twins: identical and fraternal. Identical twins come to be when one zygote (one egg and one sperm) splits into two. They share almost identical genes and have an identical physical appearance. Then there are fraternal twins, which come into being when there are two fertilized eggs by two separate sperm. They do not share the same genes and do not look alike. If you have a family history of fraternal twins, you have a higher chance of conceiving twins yourself.
2. Being Over 30
There is a Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which stimulates an egg follicle to grow during a woman’s menstrual cycle. As a woman ages, the body requires higher levels of FSH to create eggs. On one hand, this is a sign of lower fertility. On the other hand, due to higher FSH levels, follicles can become over-stimulated and release two eggs instead of one. When this happens, you may end up with twins.
3. Fertility Treatments
When a woman undergoes In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the doctor removes eggs from the woman and sperm from the man, and embryos are created in a laboratory. Since IVF is so invasive and costly, medical providers will place two or more embryos in the woman’s uterus to increase the chance of pregnancy. This sometimes results in two embryos implanting on the uterus.
4. Being Overweight
Fat cells play a crucial role in a woman’s reproductive health. This is because they store estrogen. However, the extra fat also produces higher levels of estriol (please link hormones blog). This hormonal imbalance could make it harder for a woman to conceive.
That being said, just as with FSH, the higher estriol levels may lead to overstimulation of the ovaries. As a result, two eggs may be released during one menstrual cycle, resulting in twins.
Taller women have higher levels of insulin growth factor (IGF). IGF is a protein released by the liver that also overstimulates ovaries. Just as with FSH and extra estrogen, this can prompt two eggs to be released during the menstrual cycle.
Do You Have to Eat More When You’re Pregnant with Twins?
Although it’s common to hear that pregnant women are “eating for two,” the reality is that a developing baby only requires an additional 300 calories per day. Therefore, a woman who’s pregnant with twins should consume 600 additional calories in a day.
But not all calories are created equal. Babies need nutrient-dense foods to develop properly (whole grains, leafy greens, salmon, legumes, eggs, whole foods). Avoid processed or fried foods, and limit caffeine intake to 12 oz a day to prevent the babies’ heart rate and blood pressure from increasing.
How to Sleep When Pregnant with Twins
Sleeping while pregnant can become difficult. Not only does the big belly make it challenging to find a comfortable position, but the added pressure on the bladder will also cause a woman to get up several times during the night to urinate.
So what can you do for a good night’s sleep?
- Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back while pregnant will result in back pain. The size of your abdomen and tender breasts will make sleeping on your belly impossible. Sleeping on your side will be the most comfortable position, and it allows for better circulation for you and your baby.
- Place a pillow between your legs. This will allow you to keep your hips better aligned and reduce the likelihood of back pain.
- Get a body pillow. Body pillows will provide your entire body with support. You can also purchase a pregnancy body pillow, which can help you alleviate body aches.
- Sleep propped up. Ok, so this may not be the most ideal position, but sleeping propped up on pillows or on a recliner will help ease heartburn and assist you in breathing easier.
- Take naps. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, pregnancy will still cause interrupted sleep or insomnia. In that event, get your rest whenever you can, which means taking naps throughout the day.
Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch for More Information
At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we provide a variety of services for every woman, throughout all stages of life. Whether you’re scheduling your first visit with a gynecologist, going through pregnancy, or menopause, let us help you.
Call us today to schedule an appointment.