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Twins | Twin Pregnancy

First Trimester

You have just found out that you are pregnant, and on top of that you have also just found out that you are expecting twins. Your mind is trying to deal with the fact that you’ll soon be feeding, clothing and comforting two babies at once. And you are also wondering how on earth your body will cope over the next few months – what with carrying two rapidly growing babies at once! Don’t panic, a multiple pregnancy is not all that different from a singleton pregnancy. We’ll try and settle some of your worries by taking a closer look at how your twin pregnancy develops throughout your three pregnancy trimesters.

Because a lot of the developments are similar for singleton and multiple pregnancies, moms expecting twins can still relate to most of the changes we have described in our week by week guide. However a few things are different, which is why in this article we will tackle the three twin pregnancy trimesters one by one – taking a closer look at those few changes that sets a multiple pregnancy apart from a singleton pregnancy.

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Remember that this is simply a guide to typical changes, symptoms and developments that take place in a twin pregnancy week by week, and that each pregnancy vary from woman to woman. So don’t be alarmed if you are not following this guide perfectly. Should you be concerned about anything at all, however, don’t hesitate to contact your practitioner for advice and peace of mind.

Before we take a look at your twin pregnancy trimesters, let’s explain briefly how the conception of twins take place. When you ovulate two eggs that are fertilised by two different sperm, you’ll have fraternal twins. When you ovulate one egg that is fertilised by one sperm but then spontaneously split in half afterwards, you’ll have identical twins. While having fraternal twins is often hereditary, having identical twins can happen to anyone. So this confirms the fact that just because there are no twins in your family, that doesn’t mean you won’t have twins!

Your First Twin Pregnancy Trimester

Pregnancy is measured in trimesters from the first day of your last menstrual period, totalling 40 weeks for singleton pregnancies and 38 weeks for multiple pregnancies. The first trimester of a pregnancy is week 1 through to week 12; about three months.

Throughout the first few weeks it’s very unlikely that you know you are carrying twins. Only when you have your first ultrasound you’ll be able to enjoy the somewhat scary but truly wonderful news. However some twin-moms-to-be report that they experience heightened pregnancy symptoms such as extreme morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), breast tenderness and fatigue. But others don’t experience these symptoms at all. So there’s no way to tell, really, until that first ultrasound takes place. Twins are usually visible via ultrasound as early as week 6.

When pregnant with twins your practitioner might ask you to see him more frequently so that he can monitor your pregnancy closely and keep an eye out for signs of preterm labour. He’ll also tell you that you need to be taking more folic acid, calcium, iron and protein. And he may ask you to limit some activities – such as work, exercise and travelling – in order to get more rest.

During the first week after fertilisation, the fertilised egg(s) grow into a microscopic ball of cells called a blastocyst. The blastocyst implants on the wall of your uterus- which in turn triggers a whole lot of both physical and hormonal changes in your body.

From week 3 to week 8 the embryos develop most body organs and are vulnerable to damaging substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, radiation and infectious diseases – which is why you should always follow a healthy and sensible lifestyle when you are trying for a baby or suspect that you might be pregnant.

By week 8 or 9 the embryos reach a size of about 3cm in length and from now on, in their last month representing the embryonic stage, they progress rapidly.

By week 12 all your miracles’ little organs and structures are perfectly formed, and the chances of having a miscarriage have now dropped a great deal. By the end of twelve weeks your babies have grown to a length of approximately 5cm and weigh about 140g each.

Click here to read about your Second Twin Pregnancy Trimester

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