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Ah, twin pregnancy… where do I start? I spent so long wanting to be pregnant, I read every book I could get my hands on, every website I could find. I also got halfway through a Midwifery degree, before we found out that we needed IVF, so I thought I was pretty prepared. Actually, I thought I knew it all! Ha! Not even close.
I could probably write a whole book about everything I didn’t know about twin pregnancy, but I’m a little short on time, so I’ll just tell you five things I wish I knew…
Morning sickness may be worse with twin pregnancy
Obviously, it’s not always worse. I know lots of singleton mums who had a terrible time with “morning” sickness. Who decided to call it that, anyway?? If anything, the morning was when I felt my best! I’d wake up, feel almost human and strut about my morning, thinking I’d beaten the sickness for the day…. and then lunchtime would come along and… boom! Rest of the day spent running back and forth to the bathroom.
Pregnancy related hormones are usually higher with twin pregnancy, so it’s not uncommon for “morning” sickness to be worse than it might be in a singleton pregnancy. I felt rotten until about 16 weeks. I lived on salt and vinegar crisps and slushy type drinks for most of that, because I couldn’t stomach much else. It does pass though, I promise.
There are so many appointments
Twin pregnancy is statistically higher risk, so the number of appointments you have is higher too. I had the usual Midwife appointments, plus Consultant appointments and extra scans to keep an eye on the twins’ growth. There was hardly a single week that went past without some kind of appointment, especially towards the end. These appointments actually helped to keep my anxiety at bay – I was so worried that the twins would come early (which is common with twins), that I liked that they were keeping a close eye on us, but there were a lot more than I was expecting.
Scans are not fun
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I couldn’t wait for my first scan. Since it was an IVF pregnancy, I didn’t have to wait long – we first saw those two tiny little blobs at 6 weeks. But the further along we got, the less fun the scans were. It was always nice to see the twins. Although, the bigger they got, the harder it got to actually see them clearly and the more uncomfortable it was. My bump was so big by 20 weeks that I couldn’t lay on my back for more than a couple of minutes before starting to feel like I would pass out. So all scans after that point became an ungraceful shuffle from one side to the other, trying to get all the measurements and images the sonographer needed before I had to shuffle back to the other side again. By my last scan at 36 weeks, I’d had enough. It was uncomfortable for me and frustrating for the sonographer. Don’t be afraid to say something, if you need to move. I used to ask for extra pillows to prop me up before we even got started and warn the sonographer that I wouldn’t last long – it’s all about managing expectations!
Twin pregnancy doesn’t mean you’ll feel kicks earlier
You would think that, with two babies in there, it would be easier to feel the kicks and that you’d start feeling them earlier than with a singleton pregnancy. Not so. In fact, the average time to start feeling kicks is the same for singleton and twin pregnancies – about 18-20 weeks – although it might be earlier for second pregnancies and some lucky women with bodies that are kinder to them than mine! I didn’t feel a single kick (at least, not one that I was sure wasn’t wind) until about 24 weeks. I was so frustrated. Every day, someone would say “I thought you’d be feeling them by now, since there’s two of them”. *Sigh* So did I, Buddy. So did I.
Twin pregnancy is not comfortable
No pregnancy is, right? But twin pregnancy is the only kind of pregnancy I have personal experience of and I can tell you – it’s not comfortable. From about 20 weeks, I was feeling the strain on my back, I couldn’t get comfortable in bed and I was exhausted. By 28 weeks, I was huge. It hurt to move, I couldn’t sleep and the heartburn was like nothing I’d ever felt before. And I still had another 9 weeks worth of growing to do before the twins arrived! Luckily, I was able to finish work at 29 weeks, because I don’t think I could have managed to put it off any longer. Be kind to yourself in the third trimester. You will be bigger and more uncomfortable than you would be if you were just carrying one baby. It’s OK to complain and it’s OK to take it easy.
So, there we have it! Five things I wish I knew about twin pregnancy. This probably could have been a much longer list, so heres a bonus for you….
It’s all worth it
I did not enjoy my twin pregnancy (you can read more about my pregnancy, here). I felt sick and I ached and I spent most if it with one baby jumping on my bladder, while the other kicked my ribs. My babies, thank heavens, did not come early – they waited until they were evicted at 37 weeks – and as grateful as I am for that, because it meant that my babies were safe and health, thats a long time to feel like rubbish. And a long time to listen to people telling you how lucky you are, while you feel like rubbish. But, it was all worth it. It doesn’t last forever. The aches and pains are temporary and the joy of being a twin mum lasts much, much longer!
So, while I won’t say “enjoy every second” – because no one enjoys feeling bad and there’s no shame in admitting that you don’t enjoy pregnancy – I will say, it’s all worth it.