Last updated on June 10, 2019
If your Houston OB/Gyn has told you that you’re expecting twins, congratulations! What an exciting time. It’s wonderful to find out you’ll be having not just one bundle of joy, but two!
Houston OB/Gyn Aurora Gonzalez Answers FAQs about Expecting Twins
Houston OB/Gyn Aurora Gonzalez is proud to help Houston women through their pregnancies, whether they’re expecting, one, two, or more babies! Below she details a few differences between a typical pregnancy and one with twins.
With twins, there’s double the fun and double the love. You may be wondering how twins will affect your pregnancy and birth. Read on to find out!
How do twins even happen?
There are two types of twins: fraternal and identical. The most common type is fraternal.
Fraternal twins occur when two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperm. Each twin has their own placenta and amniotic sac. The twins won’t always be the same sex.
On the flip side, identical twins occur when a single fertilized egg splits in two and develops into two fetuses. Unlike fraternal twins, identical twins often share an amniotic sac and placenta; however, they can also share a placenta and have separate amniotic sacs.
Identical twins are the same sex and look identical or extremely similar.
In rare cases, identical twins can fail to completely separate into two babies. These babies are known as conjoined twins and occur once in every 60,000 births when twins are born with connected bodies. Approximately 70% of conjoined twins are female and 75% are joined at least partially at the chest and share organs. Unfortunately, most conjoined twins are stillborn.
Twins and other multiples can be identical, fraternal, or a mix of both!
What is the main difference when you’re expecting twins?
- Bigger growth
- More weight gain
The most obvious difference is that there are two fetuses instead of just one. The body of a pregnant woman with twins will grow to accommodate two babies rather than just one.
This means that if you’re expecting twins, you can expect to grow bigger and gain more weight than in a typical pregnancy. You’ll also need double the calories and nutrients you’d need during a typical pregnancy.
HGC – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin – is a hormone that helps with detecting pregnancy. For one baby, typical HCG levels range from 70-750 mIU/ml. However, during the early stages of pregnancy, the normal HCG levels are 30% to 50% higher for twins than they are for single pregnancies.
Sometimes a twin pregnancy is later found to have only one baby. This is called Vanishing Twin Syndrome.
Are hormones doubled with a twin pregnancy?
Not necessarily. All women experience pregnancy in different ways, and each pregnancy is different. While some women report more intense symptoms of fatigue, nausea, and swelling, others don’t see much of a difference from a single pregnancy.
When am I more likely to have twins?
- Family history of twins
- Being 30 or older
- Assisted reproduction technology (IVF)
Sometimes twins just happen! Other times, there are reasons for twins forming. You are more likely to have twins as you get older. This is because hormonal changes in your body can lead to more than one egg being released at a time.
If you’re 30 years old or older, you’re more likely to conceive twins due to FSH, Follicle Stimulating Hormone.
FSH stimulates egg follicle growth during your menstrual cycle. As you get older, your body needs more and more FSH to create eggs. While a sign of lower fertility, this can also lead to over-stimulation of follicles, releasing two eggs instead of one.
You can also increase the odds of expecting twins by using assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization. During IVF, doctors place multiple embryos in a woman’s uterus to increase the chances of pregnancy. This can sometimes result in two embryos implanting in her uterus, leading to twins!
Unfortunately, yes. A woman’s risk of complications and health issues increases when having twins. These health risks include:
- preterm labor
- pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)
- gestational diabetes
To protect against these risks, you should visit your OB/Gyn. You may need more frequent office visits or additional tests. Like any other pregnancy, you should drink ample fluids, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid anything that may put your pregnancy at risk, such as smoking or drinking alcohol.
How can I keep my twin pregnancy healthy?
When pregnant with twins, there are a few things you can do to stay healthy and keep your little ones healthy, too.
Support your babies’ health by gaining weight. In a twin pregnancy, the typical weight gain recommendation is 37-54 pounds. Usually, you can accomplish this by eating 600 extra calories per day.
Deliver your twins a bit early. If labor doesn’t start naturally first, your Houston OB/Gyn may recommend a C-section or labor induction during your third trimester. This will decrease the risk of complications.
Get more frequent check-ups. Twins come with a higher risk of complications, so it’s a good idea to visit your healthcare provider more often. They can keep an eye on your pregnancy, track your twins’ growth and development, monitor your health, and keep an eye out for signs of preterm labor.