Pregnant with Twins: The 6 Essential Tips to Read Now
Congrats! Not only have you found out you’re pregnant—but you’ll be having 2 bundles of joy!
When you’re researching pregnancy, much of what you read will be about having a single baby. You may find it difficult to track down what you need to know about having twins. In this post, we’ll outline 6 must-know tips for a twin pregnancy.
It’s important to note that the information in this post are general guidelines. You should always talk to your physician about your specific requirements.
Get Your Nutrients
You probably already know that getting the right nutrients and vitamins during pregnancy is essential. But when you’re pregnant with twins, your needs are a little bit different and a little more essential.
If you’re pregnant with twins, there’s an increased risk of low birth weight and prematurity. This leads to many more twin perinatal deaths than single baby deaths. According to a review of research, being pregnant with twins also puts you at risk for micronutrient deficiency, which could lead to these issues. With that being said, it’s even more critical to get your nutrients when you’re expecting twins.
Let’s take a look at what you need:
More calories. In general, women should add 300 calories a day for each baby they’re having. That means if you’re having twins, you should have 600 more calories each day. If you’re overweight or underweight, this number may vary, so talk to your doctor.
Choose smart food. Each meal should include protein, healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates. As with any healthy diet, try to limit your processed sugar.
Prenatal vitamins. Many doctors say you don’t need a special supplement if you’re having twins; a regular prenatal one will do. A supplement will combine your needs for folic acid, iron, calcium and more into one pill so you don’t need to take each individually. However, a review of research showed that additional supplementation improves twin pregnancy outcomes. Talk to your doctor about taking extra iron, calcium and folate.
Eat nutrient-specific food. As we discussed above, researchers found that it may be healthier to get extra nutrients when you’re having twins. Along with taking a prenatal supplement, power up with nutrient-rich foods.
- Iron: Egg whites, nuts, lean meats, beans, spinach, snow peas, kale and oatmeal.
- Calcium: Dark leafy greens, milk products, orange juice, fortified cereal and bread.
- Folic acid: Dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, papayas, oranges, avocados, beans, carrots and nuts.
Omega-3 fatty acid. After a review of research, authors encouraged women expecting twins to get Omega-3 fatty acids—either through food or through a supplement. This may have neurodevelopmental benefits. Some prenatal supplements don’t include omega-3, so buy a separate supplement if necessary.
Iron. Being pregnant with twins means you’re more at risk for iron deficiency. If the iron in your prenatal supplement isn’t enough, your doctor may recommend another. He or she will be closely watching your iron levels. When increasing your intake of the mineral, you may experience constipation. If this is the case, read our 7 constipation fixes.
How much weight should I gain if I’m pregnant with twins?
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the pounds you should gain depend on your BMI before pregnancy.
- Normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9): Gain 37 to 54 pounds
- Overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9): Gain 31 to 50 pounds
- Obese (BMI of 30 or higher): Gain 25 to 42 pounds
In the second half of your pregnancy, it’s important that you keep hydrated. This is because dehydration can lead to premature contractions for any pregnant woman. Since having twins already makes premature labor or early delivery more likely, keeping water nearby is especially important.
Women pregnant with just one baby are advised to drink 10 8 oz. glasses of water each day. Although there aren’t strict guidelines on how much you should drink with twins, in general, the more, the better (without overdoing it, of course).
Here are a few things you can do to stay hydrated:
- Add fruits or a splash of fruit juice to flavor water and encourage drinking.
- Make a habit to drink a glass every time you use the washroom.
- Purchase a big water bottle and carry it everywhere you go.
- Draw lines on your water bottle to represent the amount you need to drink by a certain time each day.
- Use a water tracking app such as Daily Water Free.
Exercising Pregnant with Twins is Usually Okay
In most cases, it’s safe to exercise with twins. In fact, an author of a 2015 report wrote, “All pregnant women should engage in physical activity and may benefit from planned and programmed exercise.”
These benefits include that you’re less likely to get gestational diabetes or to have an overweight baby. It’s also likely you’ll spend less time in the second stage of labor. (To read more incredible exercising benefits, click here).
As long as your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you should still workout. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends against aerobic exercise if you’re expecting multiples. Weight training and moves that require you to lay on your back should also be avoided.
As with any woman expecting, pregnancy is not the time to build your intensity. If you don’t usually workout, start with walking or yoga.
Since two babies mean a bigger baby belly, you may find some exercises more comfortable:
- Brisk walking
- Pelvic floor exercises (You might be leaking urine when you cough or sneeze—that’s because of your double baby belly. These exercises will help prevent that)
Exercising with two babies may make you exhausted quicker. This could lead to dehydration, leading to premature contractions. To avoid this, be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Stop exercising if you feel faint, shortness of breath, headache, belly pain or vaginal bleeding.
What You Need to Buy
When you’re preparing for two babies, a simple “what to buy” checklist won’t work. Sometimes you’ll need double and sometimes you’ll need products made for two.
Besides the regular essential baby items, here’s a list of the specific things you’ll need (or will be useful to have) if you’re having twins:
- Double stroller
- 2 car seats (many twins are born prematurely. Make sure the seat you buy will fit a low-weight baby in case)
- 2 baby carriers
- Double electric breast pump
- Twin breastfeeding pillow
Some things you won’t need to buy double of. For example, your babies can share a bouncer, large play mat or toys.
Pregnant with Twins Blogs
If you’re pregnant with twins, it may be hard to relate to the mothers around you. Unless they’ve also given birth to twins, they may not know exactly what you’re going through. For this reason, it may be helpful to follow other’s journeys. You can learn about their pregnancy journey or about parenting twins.
There are a few pregnant with twins blogs that you can check out:
- Fit for Motherhood— Mom of four Renee documents each week of her pregnancy and even has a postpartum twins section. Her weekly updates include her symptoms, weight gain, sleep, exercise and more.
- Twinspecting— Twinspecting started after a couple realized they were having twins. Now they blog about everything you need to know during pregnancy.
- Sorta Crunchy— Megan Tietz documents her twin pregnancy from belly shots to birth.
- Rogers Party of Five— For information about parenting twins, check out Caitlin’s twins section.
- Foxfairy Twins— Foxfairy Twins started on Instagram and switched to blogging after realizing she wanted to share more of her journey. Start by reading her pregnancy story
Our last tip is to reach out for support. One study found that moms who had multiples were 43% more likely to have postpartum depression.
If you have a history of depression or mental illness in your family, it’s especially important to let your doctor know. He or she can monitor you for signs.
Because having twins puts you more at-risk, you may consider fostering a sense of support in a few ways:
- Various forms of therapy can be helpful in preventing postpartum depression. Ask your doctor for a referral and spend time finding a therapist who is a right fit for you.
- Pregnancy classes. Although most of the women in these groups will be having single babies, it still may help to build a community of women.
- Friends and family. Share your thoughts, worries and pregnancy life with a trusted friend or your partner. Having someone to lean on can prevent you from bottling up your emotions. Humbly accepting help can also go a long way in decreasing the stress of being pregnant with multiples.
- Online forums. There are plenty of online pregnancy forums with twin sections. You can post your questions and experiences there. Women are currently or who have gone through a similar experience will be able to reply and help you through your journey.
Are you having twins? If so, comment below your tips for other expecting mothers! If you know anyone having twins, share this article with them, too!
P.S. Have you tried a fetal doppler? These amazing at-home devices allow you to listen to both of your baby’s heartbeats! Since women pregnant with twins are more at-risk, many find hearing a heartbeat reassuring. Check them out here.