If seeing the plus sign on the pregnancy test is exciting, seeing two little dots on an early ultrasound is a special kind of bliss. Unless you were expecting a twin pregnancy, the game plan changes in an instant and you're rethinking everything from your nursery setup to your feeding technique to your college fund. And then, of course, there are the things you can't do when you're pregnant with twins to consider, too. And while no one should be policing your body — pregnant or not — there are a few things to think over as you navigate a pregnancy with multiples.
Regardless of your health or age, a twin pregnancy is always considered "high-risk," according to BabyCenter. The extra weight and demands put on your body by one or more additional fetuses mean that you'll need to take extra precautions that you might not have needed if you were having a singleton pregnancy. You may need to see a perinatologist, which is a specialist in high-risk pregnancies, along with or instead of your regular obstetrician.
In addition to your medical care, you'll have to change the way you exercise, eat, dress, and shop in ways that moms of singletons don't. Because you'll be more likely to deliver early with twins, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), your baby shower may even have to be moved up. Of course, every pregnancy is different and the only advice you should take to heart is that of your health care provider. But if you're expecting twins and you're wondering what you're in for, here's a list of things you'll probably have to give up for the duration of your pregnancy:
Skipping Your Checkups
Moms expecting twins are more likely to experience health complications such as anemia, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes, than moms with singleton pregnancies, according to the March of Dimes. The fetuses are also at risk of birth defects, low birthweight, and other health issues. To safeguard your health and that of your future babies', you'll need to see your OB more often than you would if you were carrying only one child. BabyCenter explained that after the 24th week, moms of twins typically see their doctor every other week.
(And make no mistake, you shouldn't be skipping your OB-GYN appointments if you're pregnant with a singleton, either.)
Riding A Bike
Carrying all that extra weight can throw off your balance, making it more likely that you'll fall over if you try to ride a bike, explained WebMD. To minimize risk, stick to the stationary bikes in the gym when you're looking to clock a few miles. Also out for the duration: sports that put you at risk of falling, such as skating or skiing, and lying-down yoga poses, which may cut off circulation to your uterus.
Avoiding Nosy People
Having two babies means that you'll start to show earlier than moms of singletons, and as your bump grows so will the curiosity level of everyone around you. Scary Mommy contributor Heather Milner wrote about the nosy questions people asked when she was expecting twins. "Your larger belly is like a neon sign that the public can't help but notice. Some questions are fine, but some will make you cringe."
Expect to be asked whether you "had help" getting pregnant and how close you are to your due date. You might also get some unsolicited suggestions on names which, for better or worse, isn't exclusive to moms with twin pregnancies.
Wear Smaller Maternity Sizes
Just forget about those celebrities who show off their cute little baby bumps in size 8 dresses. When you're expecting twins, gaining extra weight is both natural and necessary. ACOG recommended that women of "normal" weight should gain between 37 and 54 pounds during a pregnancy with twins, or a little less for moms who were overweight before pregnancy. Fashion-wise, this means shopping for oversized maternity tunics and jeans with big stretch panels, and probably sooner than you expected.
Going On A Diet
Cutting calories is the last thing you should do when you're pregnant. ACOG explained that moms expecting twins need to eat 600 extra calories a day — double the amount for a single pregnancy — to support the growth of the fetuses. But that doesn't mean adding a pint of gelato to your dinner. According to The Bump, mothers of multiples need nutrient-dense food, including 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily, 25 grams of protein, and 30 milligrams of zinc. Talk to your doctor about healthy eating and vitamin supplements.
Buying For One Baby
When you're making your baby registry list, you'll need to double up on everything if you're expecting twins. Twiniversity offers a baby supply list for twins that includes a tandem stroller, doubles on cribs and bedding, and twice as many diapers, wipes, and bibs. When you go clothes shopping, you probably won't be able to resist getting lots of identical or complementary outfits (because, you know, twinsies).
Eating Fried Food
Hold the onion rings and grill your chicken. Women expecting twins, particularly African-American women and moms under 30, are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes (GD) than moms of singletons, according to research published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. Another risk factor for GD: eating fried food, according to the American Diabetes Association. The organization reported on a study published in the journal Diabetologia, in which women who ate fried foods seven or more times weekly had double the risk for GD as women who indulged less than once a week.
Planning A 40-Week Due Date
If you're in your third trimester, don't put off packing your suitcase or setting up the nursery. ACOG explained that half of all women expecting twins give birth preterm, with the average delivery taking place at 35 weeks. It's important to know the signs of preterm labor, as well. If you experience a change in the appearance or amount of your vaginal discharge, achiness in your lower back, abdominal cramps, painless contractions, or pelvic pressure, call your doctor right away.