What's the Difference Between Having One Baby and Twins?
Having twins is surprisingly different than having a singleton baby. After all, you've got to remember that we're only really built for having one baby at a time. It's really a marvel that we can actually have twins at all!
The first thing that you need to know, is that almost all twins are born premature. Full term on twins is generally around the 36th and 37th week.
Second, because you're carrying two babies, as well as being born premature, there's a good chance that they're going to be born slightly smaller and lighter than single babies. But the good news is that in the vast majority of circumstances, this causes absolutely no problems.
(That's not to say that there aren't possible complications and issues that can arise, but we'll get into them later.)
Third, a carrying twins can be a whole lot harder on the body. You're carrying a lot more weight, your body is trying to provide all the nutrients that two growing babies need, and you're full to bursting of all those pregnancy hormones. The same ones that cause all those lovely pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and indigestion. So you're more than likely going to have a lot of strong pregnancy symptoms.
Lastly, and unfortunately, is possible complications. The reality of twin births is that there is a lot more that can go wrong, and that certain types can have significant problems that can cause issues during your pregnancy.
The good news is that the vast majority don't suffer from these problems, and only the rarest types are at risk. (Did you know that there's actually multiple types of twins?) If you want to know more about a particular type of twin, just click the images below.
Your doctor should tell you anything you need to know specific to your pregnancy, so if he doesn't mention any extra risks, it's best not to worry. More stress is the last thing you need right now.
The Things You Need to Think About During a Twin Pregnancy
Even if you've been pregnant before, this is a whole new experience. It's a lot more intense than a normal pregnancy. There's a whole lot more going on, both for you and for everyone around you, and there's a lot more to consider.
Your pregnancy symptoms will be much worse.
We touched on this above. Because of the difference in pregnancy hormones in your body, expect your pregnancy symptoms to be significantly worse than anything you might have experienced before. Whilst not all women will experience morning sickness and nausea, being pregnant with twins tends to make morning sickness much more debilitating, and women who have never suffered from morning sickness before find it knocking them down a peg.
On top of this, you can expect to feel a whole lot more fatigued than you're used to, even if you're really fit and healthy. After all, your body is taking care of two babies in there, and that takes an absolutely massive amount of nutrients. So try and eat as healthily as possible, even if you've got strong food aversions.
You're going to have a lot more visits and scans.
Because twins are naturally at higher risk than single babies, they're monitored a whole lot more by your doctor.
If you've gone through a previous pregnancy, you might be used to a scan every four weeks or so. But with twinnies, your doctor might want to see you every two weeks, which can increase to as much as once a week later in your term, or if you're carrying mono-di or mono-mono twins.
Don't be worried about all these visits and scans though. They're there simply to monitor the growth of both of your babies, because on rare occasions there can be issues, but normal scans pick these up, and caught early enough pretty much everything that could affect your twins can be cured.
You're going to do a whole lot more, and a whole lot less.
Despite all of the scans and check ups, when you're not at the hospital, expect to be doing a whole lot less than usual.
When you combine the extra weight you're carrying, the fatigue, the nausea, the lack of sleep and all the other issues, you might not feel up to much in your day to day life.
There's good news and bad news here. The bad news is that the first and third trimesters can be more difficult. The good news is that the second trimester is generally amazing, and it gives you a great reason to take it easy, get your life and home ready for your twinnies, and just focus on yourself to give yourself everything you need.
You're probably going to have a hard time sleeping.
Sleeping when pregnant is hard enough. Sleeping with twins. Well, lets just say that if you don't have problems sleeping, you could probably sell your secret and become and instant millionaire.
There's a few things you can do, but the best thing is to look into pregnancy pillows. If you've never seen one before they're a specially designed pillow that curves around and supports your entire body, making sleeping so much simpler.
There's so much out there for twins.
Until you really look, you don't realise just how many options there are out there. Firstly, there's a massive amount of twin specific baby products out there, from strollers to diaper bags. And then there's the wonderful opportunities, from baby showers, themed nurseries, all the way to adorable coordinating outfits.
Twin Pregnancy Week by Week
When you're going through a twin pregnancy week by week, there's a surprising amount to remember. That's why we've got such a detailed list of articles going over it all, which you can find below.
Twin pregnancies can be difficult, and they're completely different to standard, singleton pregnancies, so even if you've had children before, but we know you've got what it takes to get through this, and with our guide, you've got all the information you need, right at your fingertips.
Month 2 (Week 5 to week 8)
You've probably just found out that you're pregnant, so congratulations! A lot of women report that finding out it was twins was a major shock, and whilst being pregnant with twins does come with its own unique challenges, you're also amazingly lucky!
Twin pregnancies tend to have rougher pregnancy symptoms than singletons, especially morning sickness. You might already have started experiencing them, so hold on tight.
Right now, you babies are tiny. At the start of this month, your twins will be so small your couldn't even see them with your naked eye, but by the end, they'll both be around an inch long, and weigh as much as an ounce! But that doesn't mean that they're undeveloped. All their internal organs are already developing, as well as recognisable outside features, too.
As a last reminder, remember to start taking prenatal vitamins, if you aren't already.
Month 3 (Week 9 to week 12)
By the end of this month, your twins will weigh four times as much as they did at the start! As well as that, by the end of these few weeks, they'll be fully formed tiny people, with all of their organs and everything else where it should be.
But it's not all sunshine and roses. Your pregnancy hormones are at their highest levels in these weeks, so your pregnancy symptoms are going to be at their worst.
So if you've been suffering from morning sickness, fatigue, mood swings, and other fun stuff, expect these few weeks to be tough. But you've only got to hang on for a couple more weeks. Next month gets so much better!
Month 4 (Week 13 to week 16)
Twin pregnancies might have started showing by now. Much sooner than singleton pregnancies, because you're carrying two in there!
Over these weeks, they're going to get far bigger, finishing up around the size of a large orange or an avocado. On top of that, expect them to be moving around a lot more. You won't be able to feel it yet, but don't worry. That'll come soon.
The second trimester is a lot more comfortable for most women. Pregnancy symptoms slow down, and you should feel a whole lot better and have a lot more energy.
Month 5 (Week 17 to week 20)
It's in this month that you can normally find out your twins genders, if you want. It's a difficult decision for a lot of people, but it definitely makes picking names a whole lot easier!
They're moving around a lot more, too, doing baby gymnastics, flips and spins, as well as reacting to the outside world. Now is about the time that they start to be able to hear what's going on out there, so if you find yourself talking to them, don't worry, that's normal.
These weeks are pretty chilled out, so it's a great time to relax, see your friends and family, and take it easy.
Month 6 (Week 21 to week 24)
You're over halfway through your twin pregnancy. Most twins come around the 37th week, so we're getting there, girls!
You're going to be getting much bigger right now, and you might find yourself with burgeoning stretch marks, as well as a tight, itchy belly. Grab yourself some moisturising skin cream, or a good quality pregnancy skin cream, and slap it on.
As well as the weight gain, you might also notice the start of something less favorable. Bloating and swelling. You're more likely to notice it in your legs and feet, but this gives you an excuse to put your feet up, right? And as for your babies? They're over a pound in weight each now, which is amazing!
Now is also a great time to make sure that everything is ready for the big day. The nursery should be well on its way and everything should be baby proofed, because you're not going to be feeling up to doing any of this in a few weeks!
Month 7 (Week 25 to week 28)
You've hit a huge milestone. Your babies have reached viability. This is especially important to us, as twins are much more likely to come early, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. We'd still advise checking up on the signs of preterm labor, though, just to be sure.
Your babies are getting big, too. They're around 14 or 15 inches long, and they're not going to get much taller. Instead, they're just going to pile on the weight, getting bigger and bigger. Right now, they're only around 2lbs, but in just two months, that can as much as quadruple, getting them to a normal, healthy birth weight.
Unfortunately, your babies getting bigger is not all fun and games. Because of the extra weight, you're probably feeling pretty tired and achey right now, and you might even feel a little short of breath, so take it easy.
Month 8 (Week 29 to week 33)
Your babies are putting on a little chub right now, building up that body fat, getting those adorable chubby cheeks! They've got a lot heavier, too, weighing anywhere up to four whole pounds each!
You've probably put on a bit more weight too. Normal for twins is somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds. Because of this, and your raging hormones, you're probably not feeling too hot right now.
You might be finding yourself inexplicably short of breath, your whole body is probably aching, and you might be tired all the time, which is probably compounded by the problems you're having sleeping. If you haven't already, it's probably worth looking at specific pregnancy and sleeping pillows.
If you haven't already, make sure that everything's ready for your hospital visit, and maybe do a trial run to see exactly how long it takes you to get there. Better to be prepared, right!
Month 9 (Week 34 to birth)
The biggest thing that's happening right now is your twins probably moving into a head down position, ready for delivery day. Your OB should talk you through this, and if it's taking a little bit more time than usual, give you some exercises that you can do to sort it out.
You're probably used to your weekly appointments by now, and it probably feels like you've gone over everything a thousand times, but in our opinion it's always worth double checking everything. If you've got a close friend whose recently gone through her own pregnancy, maybe sit down with her and ask her if you're missing anything.
36 to 37 weeks is full term for twins, so familiarise yourself with your labor symptoms. If you experience painful, regular contractions, or your waters break, then contact your doctor immediately, and get ready for a hospital visit!
Remember. You're lucky. You get to experience something completely unique and magical that most women can't even imagine. You get to give birth to two amazing, beautiful babies, and once you're sitting in that bed, cradling both of them to you, trust us. It'll all be worth it.
Below you can find our more detailed guides on your twin pregnancy, divided into three handy segments each covering one of the trimesters. Just click an image to be taken to the guides, and learn everything you need to know about your twin pregnancy week by week.
About Twins: Things You Need to Know
This is probably your first time having twins, right? After all, the chances of having two sets is absolutely miniscule! (We'd know. We wrote an article about it...)
There's a lot to know. After all, they're completely unique. Whether it's the way they're so alike, (and so completely different in their own ways,) your twinnies are going to fascinate absolutely everyone who sees them. That's why you should count yourself lucky to be adding two new members to your family!
If you've ever wanted to know more about twins, we've collected every article we've ever written about them in one place, which you can find here.
So, What's Next?
This will be an amazing, turbulent, tumultuous roller coaster ride, but it's one that you're not going to want to miss. And once you're done, you're going to have two bright, bouncing healthy babies to love and adore!
It can be hard, but with your friends and family at your side, and regular visits to back here to Twinstuff to find out everything you need to know about your pregnancy and beyond, we know that you've got all you need to be the best mom possible.
If this is your first time here, we'd recommend becoming a member of our community or Facebook Group and joining the discussion. Our members are all active, friendly and would love to welcome you amongst them. Plus, if you've got any more questions and you can't find the answer straight away, they're sure to know exactly what you're talking about.
If you don't fancy joining our members forum right now, you should click here, where you can learn more about the upcoming weeks and months.
Either way, thanks for reading, welcome to Twinstuff, and good luck!