Multiple Pregnancies: How to Handle Them

January 16, 2019
Expecting twins, triplets, or quadruplets is an extra effort compared to single pregnancies. We'll take an in-depth look at the details of this challenging but miraculous experience.

Pregnancy is a magical moment in the lives of expectant mothers and fathers. It’s a stage full of hopes, plans, and expectations for when the new baby will arrive. However, if there are two or more babies on the way, the idea of taking on multiple pregnancies can be intimidating. 

Surprise, joy, and concern are some of the most common emotions when it comes to facing a multiple pregnancy. There is a lot of uncertainty, and for good reason.

Fortunately, future parents can always learn about how to experience the situation in the best possible way possible, reducing their fear considerably.

How Common Are Multiple Pregnancies?

Various factors can influence whether a multiple pregnancy occurs. Although the genetics of the father and mother are central, age and health also play a role. There are also important aspects such as number of previous pregnancies and even the mother’s weight.

In any case, the chances of a multiple pregnancy aren’t particularly high. In Spain, for example, 1 in 95 birth are fraternal twins – born from different eggs – while 1 in 250 are identical twins – born from the same fertilized egg.

On the other hand, when assisted reproduction methods are involved, the probability of a multiple pregnancy increases. The rate rises to approximately 30%. 60% of twins are conceived this way, according to statistics.

The probability of three or more babies is even lower. Just 1 in every 8,100 pregnancies is triplets, and 1 in 729,000 is quadruplets, according to the Spanish Fertility Federation.

Multiple Pregnancies: How to Handle Them

Recommendations for Taking on a Multiple Pregnancy

When you’re faced with a multiple pregnancy, some things are different from what is recommended for single pregnancies. Below we offer a few guidelines to consider over the next few months.

Rest More

It’s often said that pregnancy isn’t an illness, so a woman’s life shouldn’t change much. However, this idea isn’t entirely accurate when it comes to multiple pregnancies. 

For obvious reasons, a mother in this situation is consuming much more energy. This means it’s a good idea to reserve nutrients and resources for the development of the fetuses inside the womb.

In fact, this is an important factor in avoiding premature births for this type of pregnancy. Lying down on your left side helps to strengthen blood flow (and the flow of nutrients) to the babies.

Monitor Your Health and Your Babies’ Health

Check-ups with your gynecologist are vital during any pregnancy. In the case of multiple pregnancies, these checks are even more important.

Your increased nutritional needs can also mean you should take dietary supplements. These commonly include iron, folic acid, calcium, and vitamins. All these are fundamental for the development of your fetuses.

Watch What You Eat

Weight gain will be even greater than during a single pregnancy. Since your body is devoting a lot of resources to the babies’ development, it’s very important to eat a balanced diet. 

Follow your doctor’s recommendations that are specific to you. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and drinking enough water are very helpful for keeping a mother healthy during this stage.

“Since multiple pregnancies burn more energy, it’s very important to reserve nutrients and resources for the development of the babies in your womb.”

Accept Help

Both during pregnancy and after, mothers know they will “grapple” more with two or more babies than with one. The best strategy is to let people help you. 

Many women become overprotective or try to do everything themselves. In reality this isn’t a good idea. Don’t feel guilty for missing work, not doing housework, or for having your mother spend an afternoon helping you. You need it, and your children need it.

Risks Associated with Multiple Pregnancies

According to publications from the Spanish Fertility Society, a multiple pregnancy has the potential for certain complications. For example. they may include:

For the Fetuses:

  • More than half of twins and almost 90% of triplets don’t reach the 37th week of gestation, being born prematurely instead.
  • The more babies there are, the more likely they’ll be born underweight.
  • Risk of delayed intrauterine growth.
  • In the case of serious complications, the risk of miscarriage or neonatal death are higher in multiple pregnancies.
Multiple Pregnancies: How to Handle Them

For the Mother

  • Symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, asthenia, and excessive weight gain are more frequent and more intense.
  • In general, multiple pregnancies are more likely to lead to high blood pressure.
  • Risk of gestational diabetes increases.
  • More than half the time, twins are delivered by Cesarean. For triplets or more, it’s always recommended.

However, it’s important to note that many multiple pregnancies develop perfectly. The simple fact of a multiple pregnancy doesn’t inevitably mean there will be complications. It simply means that this could combine with other factors to lead to a specific concern.

In any case, with the suggestions above, facing a multiple pregnancy can be a less frightening experience. The experience of giving birth to children who are linked from birth will lead to unforgettable moments throughout their development.

  • Rustico, M. A., Lanna, M., & Ferrazzi, E. (2012). Multiple pregnancies. In Neonatology: A Practical Approach to Neonatal Diseases. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-88-470-1405-3_10
  • Bricker, L., Reed, K., Wood, L., & Neilson, J. P. (2015). Nutritional advice for improving outcomes in multiple pregnancies. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008867.pub3
  • Fuchs, F., & Senat, M. V. (2016). Multiple gestations and preterm birth. Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.siny.2015.12.010