When you discover that you’re pregnant with multiples, it’s often surprising and even a bit stressful! Whether you’re carrying two babies or destined to deliver triplets or quadruplets, your pregnancy will be a bit different than if you were carrying a single baby – but you’re in good company. Multiple births are more common these days since more women take fertility drugs. These medications increase the odds of giving birth to multiple babies. Now, let’s look at what to expect if you’re pregnant with multiples.
Your Pregnancy Symptoms May Be More Severe
If you’re carrying more than one baby, you have higher levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrphin (hCG) in your bloodstream. This can cause some of your pregnancy symptoms to be more pronounced, particularly morning sickness. You also may experience more soreness in your breasts and fatigue than if you were carrying a single baby.
When you visit your doctor, they may notice that your fundal height, how large your uterus measures, is greater than expected. They may detect more than one heartbeat using ultrasound. Although these are all possible signs and symptoms of carrying multiples, but the only way to know for sure is with an ultrasound.
You’re at Higher Risk of Complications
If you’re pregnant with multiples, your risk of certain pregnancy-related complications is a bit higher. Some conditions you have a greater risk of include:
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
- Delivering early or giving birth to small babies
- Gestational diabetes – high blood sugars during pregnancy
- Gestational hypertension – elevated blood pressure during pregnancy
- Anemia – low red blood cell count
- Polyhydramnio – Too much amniotic fluid surrounding your babies
- Severe morning sickness
- Placental abruption – separation of the placenta from the uterus
- Likelihood of requiring a Caesarian section
- Higher risk of birth defects for one or more of your babies
The more babies you’re carrying, the greater the risk of complications. If you’re carrying triplets, your risk is higher than if you have twins on the horizon.
You’ll Need to Adjust Your Nutrition
If you’re carrying more than one baby, you need more of some nutrients, particularly iron and folic acid. Your health care provider will prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you and be sure to take it consistently. You’ll also need to gain more weight than if you’re carrying a single baby. Talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain. It will depend on how many babies you’re carrying and how much you weighed before you became pregnant.
You May Have Activity Restrictions
Assuming your pregnancy is uncomplicated, it’s usually okay to exercise when you’re pregnant with a single baby – but if you’re carrying two or more, you may need to curtail certain activities, particularly high-impact exercise. It’s important to stay active but talk to your health care provider about what activities are appropriate for you. As you get into the later stages of pregnancy, you may have to further limit your activities and avoid standing for long periods of time as well. In some cases, you may be restricted to bed rest.
You’ll Need Close Monitoring
Because you and your babies are at higher risk of complications, you’ll need to see your obstetrician more often than you would if you were carrying a single baby. Since you’re carrying more than one baby, your pregnancy is considered “high risk.” Depending on how your babies are situated, a vaginal delivery may be possible if you’re carrying twins. However, if you’re bringing more than two babies into the world, it’s likely you’ll need a cesarean section.
The Bottom Line
Yes, being pregnant with multiples is more stressful but once they arrive you can look forward to double, triple, or quadruple the fun!
American Pregnancy Association. “Signs & Symptoms Of Multiple Pregnancy”
ReproductiveFacts.org. “Multiple Pregnancy and Birth: Twins, Triplets, and High-order Multiples”