Dr Kelly Loi, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Accredited Fertility Specialist from the Health & Fertility Centre for Women answers your pregnancy related questions.
I just found out that I’m carrying twins – a boy and a girl! It’s all very exciting and I know that there’ll be much to do when they arrive. It’s my second pregnancy so it’s not new to me but when it comes to multiples, what differences can I expect during my pregnancy?
In terms of symptoms of early pregnancy, nausea and vomiting can be more of a problem with twins. This may be due to higher levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which may trigger morning sickness. Subsequently, having two babies pushing up against your diaphragm can also make breathlessness worse. Feeling tired during your pregnancy is a normal part of expecting twins. There is also a higher risk of having problems such as constipation, heartburn and indigestion. Later in your pregnancy there is more of a strain on your muscles because you are carrying additional weight, so back pain may be a problem.
In terms of antenatal care and visits to the doctor, you will probably be offered extra scans and antenatal appointments if you are expecting twins. This is especially so in the case of twins who share a placenta as they are more likely to experience complications than twins who each have their own placenta.
These extra scans will monitor how well they are growing. Scans will also pick up any complications that may be developing. You’ll have regular blood pressure and urine checks, because pregnant women expecting twins have a higher risk of developing:
• high blood pressure
• gestational diabetes
In terms of delivery, premature birth, before 37 weeks, happens in more than half of twin pregnancies.
Pre-eclampsia is more common in women who are expecting twins. It is a potentially serious complication that needs immediate medical attention. Pre-eclampsia is usually picked up by blood pressure and urine tests which take place during your antenatal appointments. Some symptoms of severe preeclampsia include:
• severe headaches
• vision problems, such as blurring, or flashing lights
• pain in your upper abdomen
• sudden swelling of your feet, ankles, face and hands
• excessive weight gain because of fluid retention