If you've received the astounding news that you're carrying more than 1 baby, rest assured you're in good company. Multiple births have been on the rise over the last 20 years, more than doubling for twins and more than tripling for triplets in the U.S.
Reasons for this include the fact that more women are having babies after age 30 or that more are using fertility treatments. Both increase the likelihood of having multiples.
You may have had an inkling about being pregnant with multiples early on. Women expecting twins, triplets or more may experience rapid weight gain in the first trimester, higher levels of hCG (the hormone produced in pregnancy), as well as more extreme:
- bouts of nausea and/or vomiting
- breast tenderness
An ultrasound in the only way to truly confirm that you're carrying multiples. If you are, your healthcare provider will want to see you more often than if you were pregnant with just 1 baby. Women carrying multiples are at higher risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs), preterm birth, low birth weight and birth by cesarean section.
Eating for 3, 4 or More
Your healthcare provider will monitor your pregnancy closely to ensure the babies growing inside of you are healthy, well nourished and developing normally.
He or she will let you know how much weight you need to gain to support each of your babies, whether you need a higher dose of prenatal vitamins and what and how much physical activity is safe during your pregnancy.
An average-weight woman carrying twins should gain 3545 pounds over the course of her pregnancy, about 10 pounds more than the mother of a singleton. Women carrying triplets are advised to gain 50 to 60 pounds. The guidelines vary for women pregnant with quadruplets and quintuplets.
Increasing your fluid intake is also important during pregnancy with multiples. Drink as much water as you can; 1215 glasses a day is not too much.
Dehydration increases the risk of premature delivery, the main concern for any pregnancy with multiples.
If you’re pregnant with twins or multiples, your babies may not wait a full 39 or 40 weeks to enter the world. Twins often arrive between 35 and 37 weeks; triplets or more may come even earlier.
A C-section delivery may be more likely with multiples to keep you and your babies safe. It's also possible that your babies will need specialized care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) if they arrive prematurely.
Talk with your pregnancy healthcare provider about what to expect.
This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.
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