Multiple Births

Expecting twins or more?

A multiple pregnancy can be just as nerve-wracking as it is exciting; you're going to have more than one bundle of joy, but that also means you're going to have to worry about the health of more than one baby. If you're expecting twins, triplets or even more, there are some special health care and pregnancy tips you should be aware of.

Interestingly, multiple pregnancy is on the rise in the United States, although no one is quite sure why. Standard screenings which are done in the first trimester of pregnancy will tell you if you are pregnant with twins, pregnant with triplets or have four or more buns in the oven.

 

How Multiple Births Originate

There are two ways a multiple birth begins: first, a mother may have released multiple eggs during ovulation, more than one of which was fertilized by the father. The other scenario is that a single fertilized egg split into two, three or more parts. In the first scenario, fraternal twins (or triplets, etc.) will result; in the second, identical twins (or triplets, etc.) will be born.

Tips for a Multiple Pregnancy

As a general rule, you should be extra diligent about your prenatal care if you are expecting twins or expecting triplets. Your obstetrician will be your best guide, but here are some general tips for multiple pregnancies that you should be aware of:

  • Increase your calcium and folic acid intake beyond the levels which are recommended for expectant mothers of a single baby. You should do the same with other important prenatal nutrients, including iron, zinc, copper and vitamins.
  • Add 300 calories to your daily intake requirements for every baby you are expecting.
  • Look to gain between 30 and 45 pounds if you are expecting twins, and up to 60 pounds if you are expecting triplets.
  • Visit your doctor for prenatal care more frequently throughout the pregnancy, but especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. In the second trimester, you should see your doctor twice a month; in the final trimester, you should plan to go once per week.

With multiple pregnancies, the big day tends to arrive sooner than it does with singleton pregnancies. On average, multiple pregnancies are delivered about two weeks sooner than single pregnancies, so make sure you and your partner plan accordingly.