safe motherhood




When you find out that 'it's twins', the news will take some time to sink in. Even if you have been undergoing treatment for fertility, or if there are already twins in your family, you can still feel unprepared for the news.

The incidence of multiple pregnancies has increased dramatically in the last 20 years, so there are far more women now going through the experience of being pregnant with more than one baby.

If you are expecting twins your body has to work harder, which may make the discomfort worse. You might feel more sick and tired in the early weeks, and more likely to suffer from heartburn, varicose veins and backache as the pregnancy progresses.

You may in fact be relieved to discover you're expecting twins, because you've felt so unwell.

Because your body is working hard, it needs to be well-nourished and well-rested. You may be advised to stop work at 28 weeks of pregnancy. Resting is not only good for you, it helps your babies too, particularly in the last three months.

The Twins and Multiple Births Association can give enormous support. Its helpline: 01732 868000 is organised by mothers who have had twins themselves. They can help you talk through your worries and concerns.

TAMBA can also put you in touch with your local 'twins club', a source of support as well as baby equipment for twins. Your hospital may run 'twins evenings', where you meet other mothers-to-be of multiples and can share your concerns.

Antenatal care is likely to be similar to a singleton pregnancy, although you may have extra scans. If you have more than one baby, there's a greater chance that they'll be born prematurely, that is, before 37 weeks, although this doesn't by any means always happen.

How the babies are born depends to a great extent on what position they're in. If they're head down, they can be born normally, but if the 'lead' baby is breech, a Caesarean may well be advised. This is something you'll need to discuss with your doctor before the birth. If you have any particular preferences, make sure you discuss them.