Pregnant with Twins – A Lucky Double?
You can’t miss the fact that there are more and more twins. But being pregnant with twins is the greatest happiness for some parents while a ‘shock’ for others.
But what is so special about having twins? What does it mean for the parents? One is for sure, expecting twins means also double effort in the birth preparation.
Why are there more twins births today?
Twins are booming, not just since Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had this double surprise. Comparatively, the number of twin births since 1980 has increased (more than doubled). But why do more women give birth to twins?
First, couples today are waiting longer before they decide to have children and older women are having twins more frequently because of biological reasons. Also, hormone treatments and fertilization outside the body increase the chance of giving birth to twins. According to the statistics of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, today about every 30th birth is a twin birth.
How do twins get developed in the stomach?
70 percent of twins are dizygotic. In this case, two eggs are fertilized by two sperms. These children are like ordinary siblings in their genes, unlike the identical twins. Identical twins have the same sex and the genotype is completely identical since only one ovum is fertilized, which divides hours or days later.
The time of separation will decide about the location and care of the unborn. Five days prior to fertilization of the egg, the embryos have a separate gestational sac and an own placenta.
If the egg is separated between the 5th and 8th day, they will be supplied through a common placenta and both will have the same amniotic sack which is divided into two compartments by a caul. If the split is after 8 days, the partition is missing and without this there is a risk that the unborn child may get tangled with the umbilical cord.
In rare cases, the egg splits after the 12th day, the process is not successfully complete which leads to the formation of Siamese twins.
Is there a risk being pregnant with twins?
No matter how young and healthy the expectant mother is and how she feels during pregnancy with two babies in the belly, she belongs to the group of risk pregnancies. The most common risk is that children are born too early. All other pregnancy-related complaints are also more common because of the double burden of maternal organism than in singletons.
A birth and two babies – How does that work?
A twin birth is definitely a very special event since there is only one birth process but two babies. Therefore, everything is doubled: It needs two midwives, two doctors and anesthetic and neonatology teams ready for emergency. So the birth room is pretty crowded.
Nowadays, a cesarean birth is more than 50 percent most likely in the way of giving birth to twins. But not just to make it more comfortable for the expecting mother but also because of the associated risks due to which this method will be definitely chosen. For example: The babies are in an embryonic vesicle without partition, when twin A is breech, when B is more than 500 grams heavier than A and so on.
But if nothing like that is the case, the woman can give birth in a normal way and a vaginal birth is anyway the best for mother and child – unless she is proceeding well.
Just madness after birth?
In general, the trio has to stay longer in the hospital after birth than mother of only one child. When the mother goes home with twins, the ordinary madness with two babies starts for the parents. Often, the father takes off a few days and carries twin A around until he has made his burp while the mother changes the diapers of twin B. Yes, having twins keeps the parents busy.
But fathers of twins are mostly characterized by the fact that they deal with more household duties and spend more time with their children. Psychologists explain this with the fact that it is difficult for a single person to take care of newborn twins.
Here are some tips for women who are pregnant with twins:
- Think before the birth about who could give you a hand so you don’t get overwhelmed. Both you and your husband need some breaks.
- Your own parents or parents-in-law often help. But also friends and neighbors often offer to help you out with the child care and household.
- Talk with others who have had twins to get helpful ideas and advices especially for the early years. Contact for example your local ‘Mothers of Twins Club’ to find parents of twins in your area. Visit the page of the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (www.nomotc.org) to find your local Club.
- There are a lot of books about caring for twins. These books will also provide you with helpful tips.
Tips for raising twins:
- Avoid picking names which sound alike, since it will be difficult for the twins to make a difference.
- Dressing twins alike will make it difficult for them to develop own personalities.
- Don’t refer to them as “the twins”. Treat them like two children of different ages.
- It is important not to compare them or to create competition between them. You may also put them in different classrooms at schools.
- Last but not least, spend some time with each twin alone to give them the feeling to be not just important as twins but also as individuals.