Finding out you’re pregnant with multiple babies can be equally as terrifying as it is exciting! Your first thoughts will most likely turn towards the birth. However, being pregnant with multiple babies also poses a few concerns.
Here, we’ll look at the potential complications multiple pregnancies can present, along with some great tips on how to cope if you are expecting more than one baby.
What Is A Multiple Pregnancy?
A multiple pregnancy occurs when you’re expecting more than one baby. So, it could be twins, triplets or quadruplets or more. They occur when more than one egg is fertilized, or when a fertilized egg splits into several different embryos.
If the egg does split, it usually results in identical babies due to them sharing the same genes. If more than one egg has been fertilized, the babies will look different and will be referred to as fraternal siblings.
Over the past decade, multiple babies are becoming more common due to women choosing to have babies later in life. If you’re over 30, you have an increased chance of having a multiple pregnancy. Similarly, more women are undergoing fertility treatment which is also known to increase the likelihood of multiple pregnancies.
So, if you are diagnosed with a multiple pregnancy, what does that mean in terms of your health? Unfortunately, there are some complications which can occur with multiple pregnancies which you do need to be aware of.
What Complications Can Occur?
Multiple pregnancies do come with an increased risk of complications. They include:
- Gestational Diabetes
- IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction)
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum
These are all complications which can occur in any pregnancy, but the risks are much higher with multiples. The biggest risks include IUGR and miscarriage.
With IUGR, the babies may not grow fully throughout the pregnancy. This is typically down to there either not being enough space for the babies to grow any further, or the placenta may not be able to deal with additional growth. The more babies you’re expecting, the bigger the risk.
It’s also important to note that although twins can still be born naturally, more than two babies will likely require a Cesarean Section birth. Your doctor will be able to address these complications and your risks, as well as advise you on what you can do to prevent them. You will typically need to see your doctor every other week once you reach the second trimester. This ensures the pregnancy is developing as it should and there are no health complications.
You can also expect to experience a premature birth. When you’re pregnant with twins, there’s a 60% chance you’ll experience early labor. If you’re carrying triplets or more, this increases to a staggering 90%! It’s not possible to prevent premature birth, but the standard of healthcare today means that the majority of premature babies survive and grow up to be fully healthy.
The Importance Of Planning Ahead
When you discover you’re expecting multiple babies, it becomes crucial to start planning ahead. As well as preparing for the potential complications, you’re also going to need to prepare for the reality of having multiple babies to look after.
You’ll need a lot more equipment and supplies than you would with just one baby. You’re also going to need additional space. It’s important to sit down and work out the practicalities, as well as start saving towards the cost of raising more than one child.
It’s certainly not going to be easy, but with advanced planning it’s doable. You can start planning who will take care of the babies. Will you need to hire a babysitter or nanny for example? There’s a lot to figure out and the earlier you do it, the more confident you’ll be as the birth approaches.
Top Ways To Deal With Multiple Pregnancy Side Effects
There are a lot of side effects which come with pregnancy and when you’re expecting multiple babies these can increase in severity.
One of the main risks is that you’ll develop Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or severe morning sickness. This causes you to feel nauseous, as well as vomit excessively at any time of day. You will need to speak to your doctor for ways to deal with the condition as it’s not usually respondent to natural remedies alone.
As you are carrying more than one baby, you can expect to gain a little more weight than you would in a standard pregnancy. Again, speaking to your doctor about this will prepare you for how much weight you can expect to gain. The more weight you’ll gain, the more tired you’ll feel, plus you’ll likely experienced increased aches and pains. You’ll need to rest a lot more than you would with a standard pregnancy.
Of course, it’s not just the physical symptoms which can be hard to deal with. You’ll also experience a lot of psychological effects too. Finding out you’re having multiple babies can be extremely scary. So, many women do find it helpful to attend counselling. This will help you to psychologically prepare for having more than one baby.
You’ll also likely experience a lot of mood swings. This is down to the fluctuating hormone levels which are even more unpredictable with a multiple pregnancy. It’s important to keep a positive attitude as much as you can throughout the pregnancy. This will really help you to get through it and cope once the babies arrive.
Overall, multiple pregnancies can be both scary and exciting. However, there is a lot to consider and learn about if you are expecting more than one baby. The above is some of the best tips and advice you can follow. Talking to your doctor or healthcare professional and seeking their advice is also crucial.
Have you gone through a multiple pregnancy? How did you cope? Let us know in the comments below!
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.