After our initial excitement at the ultrasound, I went back to my pregnancy guide: What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel for some more information. Unfortunately, it seemed like the chapter on twins focused more on the increased risks than the increased joys. Or maybe it was just that I was freaking out and read the chapter with that mentality. Either way, after talking to a neonatology doc friend and my obgyn and re-reading this chapter, I realized yes there are slightly higher risks. However, it still isn’t usually considered a high risk pregnancy. Also, there isn’t a lot that I can do as the momma, so I might as well not stress too much!
- Obviously the cost is higher with twins! While we don’t need 2 of every item (What to Do When You’re Having Two is an awesome resource to help with this), there are a lot of items that are more expensive for twins (hello double stroller!) and that we do need two of (hello two expensive cribs for once they roll over and can’t share!). Baby Bargains estimates that parents spend about $7500 on a child’s nursery items, clothes, diapers, food, toys, seats, carriers, etc. from birth to age one. This doesn’t include medical bills or child care costs! Our medical bills are also little bigger because we have ultrasounds almost every month to measure babies’ growth (as fundal height measurements don’t work for multiples) and my cervix length (cervical length can help predict early delivery).
- Pregnancy symptoms may be worse. I think I have actually gotten pretty lucky in this regard. I have had nausea and indigestion, but it is nothing like some of my friends’ and family’s experiences. Fatigue and fetal movement baby also may be increased.
- Higher risk of miscarriage and premature delivery. 20-30% of twin pregnancies result in vanishing twin syndrome (the miscarried twin is reabsorbed by the mother). The usually occurs in the first trimester and women over 30 have a higher likelihood. About 59% of twins arrive early, and my doc said she would induce if we get to 38 weeks (although she said that is not very likely). The key is that the babies stay in the womb long enough to get to a healthy weight and lung development.
- Risks to my health. Preeclampsia (high blood pressure) affects about 25% of moms of multiples, gestational diabetes is slightly more likely, and there is a slightly higher risk of placental problems.
- Possibility of bed rest. Some doctors prescribe bedrest to try to minimize the risks to mom’s health and to keep the babies in the womb as long as possible. My doctor said that she prescribes it on a case by case basis, but the current research says that bed rest is not necessarily helpful to keeping the babies from being delivered too early.
- Labor and delivery may not go as smoothly. 40% of twins are vertex/vertex (heads down), and this is the easiest way to have a vaginal birth. However, sometimes Twin A and/or B isn’t vertex, and a C-section might be necessary.
- When I was younger, I always said I wanted twins. Did I really know what I was wishing for?!
- Sibling love. As the oldest of four, I love having siblings. Growing up there was always someone to play with, and as we got older, there was always someone to go out to eat with. Our babies will have a sibling to play with from day one (or whatever day they actually start playing)!
- We get many more ultrasounds than a singleton pregnancy!
- Our babies are fraternal and di/di (dichorionic/diamniotic), like 76% of twin pregnancies. This is the least risky type of twin pregnancy because the babies each have their own chorionic (this eventually forms the placenta) and amniotic sacs (Types of Twin Pregnancies).
- Join a parenting group. I have looked into groups for parents of multiples, PEPS, and local Renton groups. It seems like you can find all of these types of groups in major cities. Just a heads up, most do have fees, though.
- Let them be individuals. We have already started thinking about how to cater to our babies’ uniqueness as twins while still encouraging them to grow as individuals. We know it will probably be tough but its important to us that our children grow up as independent people.
- Buy from consignment sales. Many of the baby items you won’t use too long, so why buy a new expensive item? The multiples groups in Seattle all have semi-annual consignment sales with toys, maternity and baby clothes, strollers, chairs, etc.