What Soon to be Moms Should Know About Twins
So you’re having twins!
This is wonderful news. It is important, however, to know the risks and precautions that go with multiple births to help avoid potential risks. According to the Nemours Foundation, between 1980 and 2004, the number of twin births increased by 70% and the number of births involving 3 or more babies has quadrupled. One benefit of this is that there has been a lot of research and experience in twin births, making knowledge and risks more accessible.
Staying Healthy During Pregnancy
Your doctor will monitor you closely during your pregnancy, but there are steps you can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy as well:
- Take a multivitamin with 500 to 800 mcg of folic acid to help prevent birth defects.
- Take an iron supplement to prevent anemia, which can result in premature birth or low birth weight. · Get a flu shot.
- Do not start or stop any medications without your doctor’s approval.
- Eat a healthy diet and take steps to avoid food borne illness.
- Avoid fish that contains excess mercury such as shark, tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
- Don’t smoke.
- Keep stress levels down.
- Avoid chemicals from cleaners, paints and insecticides.
Early Labor, Gestational Diabetes and Preeclampsia
Early labor is the most common health risk involved with having twins. Almost half of twin pregnancies result in premature birth, which is birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature birth can result in numerous health challenges for an infant, often landing them in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where they are monitored until it is safe to take them home.
Gestational diabetes generally develops around the 24th week and does not indicate that you had or will have diabetes surrounding the birth. Gestational diabetes affects approximately 18% of pregnancies and occurs when blood sugar levels are high during pregnancy. Your doctor will monitor you should this condition occur.
Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs during pregnancy or during the postpartum period. Preeclampsia causes an increase in blood pressure that could lead to seizure, stroke, organ failure or death to the mother and/or baby if left untreated.
Twin-to-twin Transfusion Syndrome
Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a condition that occurs only to identical twins in the womb. TTTS occurs when the blood of one twin (the donor) moves to the other (the recipient). The severity of the condition determines if and what problems the twins may have. Problems may include the donor twin requiring a transfusion, dehydration, paleness, anemia, smallness, increased blood pressure or cardiac failure. If your twins develop TTTS, you may want to consider finding a TTTS Lawyer to determine what your options are and if you are eligible for disability money for your twins should they require it.
This was a guest post by R. Wilcox