Differences Between Multiple and Singleton Pregnancies

How is a Twin Pregnancy Different from a Singleton Pregnancy?

What a great question.  There are distinct differences between the two, and taking a multiple-birth specific class, either in your community, on-line or by DVD will answer many of your questions.

As each pregnancy is different, even for the same woman, there may be differences woman-to-woman and/or situation-to-situation.  IF YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT ANY ASPECT OF YOUR PREGNACY, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.

Woman 22 weeks pregnant with twins
22 weeks pregnant with twins

Here are some expected differences.

  • A multiple birth pregnancy is nearly always considered “high risk,” meaning that doctors will be more vigilant to ensure Mom and babies are doing well.  “High risk” is a normal label for parents expecting multiples and not necessarily anything to worry about;
  • As a “high risk” pregnancy, Mom can expect a greater number of doctor’s visits, fetal monitoring and blood tests.  As the pregnancy progresses, doctor’s visits will increase from once a month to every other week during the second trimester and once a week until birth in the third trimester;
  • Moms will be checked for excessive nausea, appropriate weight gain, edema (swelling), gestational diabetes, twin-to-twin transfusion (including in sets of triplets and more) if the babies are monozygotic (identical), preeclampsia, and the babies will each be monitored to make sure they are growing and developing properly;
  • Morning sickness can be more severe and begin earlier with multiples and like a singleton pregnancy, it may last only the first few months or continue through the complete pregnancy.  Each woman is different;
  • Mothers expecting multiples will get bigger faster and be in maternity clothes much earlier than with a singleton;
  • Mothers expecting multiples report feeling tired more often and earlier.  If you think about it, Mom is creating and growing several fetuses at once, plus maintaining her own system with its many body changes to accommodate these babies.  It is tiring work;
  • Nutritional requirements are different for a multiple-birth pregnancy and your doctor or nutritionist will be able to explain how much weight gain is ideal for you in each trimester.  Your particular weight gain expectation will be influenced by how many fetuses you are carrying.
  • Most multiples are born preterm, i.e. before 38 weeks, and will be smaller at birth than a singleton.  The more infants Mom is carrying, the earlier they are likely to arrive;
  • It is not unusual for multiples to be delivered by c-section.  The more babies carried, the more likely there will be a c-section.  For twins, a vaginal delivery usually depends on the position of the lower baby.  If the baby’s head is down, there may be a chance for a vaginal delivery.  In a small percentage of cases, one baby may be delivered vaginally and the other may be breech and need a c-section for delivery;
  • Moms, especially in the latter stages of their pregnancy, may find their balance compromised due to the position of the babies, the number of placentas and fluid retained.  Take very good care when walking or using stairs; and
  • Mothers may need to spend some time on bed rest either at home or in the hospital.  Your doctor will let you know should you fall into this category.

To find out more about pregnancy differences, check out my Suggested Reading List at https://jumelle.ca/prenatal-education/suggested-reading-list-for-parents-expecting-twins-triplets-and-more-2/



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