Surviving Twins: Tips for a Happy Twin Pregnancy

One day after taking a blood pregnancy test, my phone rang. The doctor wanted to see me in his office the next morning. There was an issue with the blood test that required an ultrasound. When the first picture appeared on the screen, I immediately knew something was different. I asked the doctor, "Is that what I think it is?" My husband replied, "What, that's just the eyes, right?" The doctor looked at us and revealed, "You're having twins!"

My twin pregnancy started out much like my singlet pregnancies. I did not suffer any morning sickness and I generally felt excited about adding two babies to the family. Soon, my body started changing and my simple pregnancy turned into a nightmare. Bed rest started in my eighth week of pregnancy. By 26 weeks, I was in the hospital with pre-term labor and just six weeks later, my twins were born. Though my twin pregnancy was shorter than expected, I learned a lot about surviving twin pregnancy along the way.

Throw the weight gain guidelines out the window. Typical weight gain guidelines for pregnancy are based on a singlet pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, women pregnant with twins should gain between 25 and 35 pounds. I gained a total of 45 pounds during my twin pregnancy. The extra weight gain is attributed to lying in bed for 24 weeks.

Rest when you can during pregnancy. After the twins were born, there was very little rest for mom and dad during the following six months. I worked hard getting the twins on the same overnight eating schedule, but it still took a while to perfect overnight feedings and diaper changes with two. During pregnancy, I took two naps a day with my four-year-old. She was more than happy to rest early in the morning and in the late afternoon.

Eat six to seven small meals every day. Eating was a huge problem for me. By the 20th week of pregnancy, I could not consume a full meal at one sitting. The babies took up too much room and my stomach was pushed up so far that indigestion was a huge problem. Protein shakes and meal replacement shakes increased calorie intake as snacks. I skipped foods with a lot of water, like lettuce and celery, as they filled up my stomach much too quickly and contained too few calories. I tried to eat nutrient-dense vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts at every meal.

Prop up at night to sleep. By the end of my twin pregnancy, every time a baby kicked, stomach acids splashed into my throat making me feel like I couldn't breathe. I used four large pillows propped at the top of the bed to sleep sitting up. I ate foods easy to digest like pasta and whole grains before bed to prevent indigestion at night. I chose not to eat whole foods after 6 P.M. to give my digestive system enough time to process all food before bed.

Bedtime is clothing optional. Being pregnant with twins is hot, literally. By the 24th week of pregnancy, I felt hot in a room that was 60 degrees. My husband slept with multiple blankets every night while I opened the windows in our bedroom, in December. I chose thin nightgowns in place of warm flannel nightclothes to keep my internal furnace at bay, but sometimes even the thinnest piece of clothing was too much.

At the end of my twin pregnancy, I gave birth to two premature babies weighing 6 lbs. 14 ounces and 6 lbs. 7 ounces. While the adventure was trying, the result was well worth the pain, suffering, heat and emotional changes that come with twin pregnancies.

More from Summer

Top 5 Alternative Treatments for Pregnancy Sickness

Food Allergies and Prenatal Vitamins: Is Your Prenatal Vitamin Harmful to Your Health?

Worst Exercises for Pregnant Women