Mother and Baby

What to Expect When You’re Pregnant With Multiples

Section: Week by Week

Twins, triplets, quadruplets – however many babies you’re having, it’s a lot more than the usual one. But what are the big differences?

You’re ecstatic that you’re pregnant with more than one baby. At the same time, you’re probably panicking about the strain on your body (goodbye feet!) or as well as feeling a teensy bit anxious about what this means for your bank account – and sanity.

But, having a multiple pregnancy <is> manageable – as the many women who have done it before you have proven. And having more than one baby means more love, fun and excitement.

Twins, triplets, or more

A multiple pregnancy refers to any pregnancy with more than one baby. Twins are the most common multiple pregnancy with over 12,000 sets of twins born every year in the UK. Around 200 sets of triplets are born each year and much fewer sets of quadruplets and quintuplets.

However many babies you are pregnant with, you can blame it all on your mum as multiple pregnancies tend to run on the female side of the family.

‘Your babies will most probably be non-identical, as the large percentage of multiples are,’ says Sandra Bosman, midwifery consults for the Twins and Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA). ‘This means that each baby came from a different egg, fertilised by a different sperm at the same time.’

How a multiple pregnancy differs from a single pregnancy

You are at risk to more complications than a woman pregnant with one baby is, however you’ll be under consultant care, so they’ll keep a very close eye on both you and your babies throughout your pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes, anaemia and preeclampsia are more common if you’re having twins or more,’ says Sandra. ‘You may also go into labour prematurely, as around 50 per cent of multiple babies arrive early. Typically, twins arrive at around 37 weeks, but labour may occur earlier than this.’

You’ll need to take it easy throughout your pregnancy. ‘You’ll find you get tired quickly and need to stop work (LINK) sooner than you would with one baby,’ Sandra says.

How a multiple labour differs from a single pregnancy

Your labour will be classed as high risk, due to the extra strain put on both you and your babies. This means that home births are advised against just in case one of your needs some help during or after the birth.

‘This may means that you’ll be hospitalised for longer than usual,’ Sandra explains. ‘And it also means you have over a 50 per cent chance of having a caesarean. Your first baby may be born vaginally but if the other(s) get distressed then you might need a c-section.’

How having multiples differs from having one baby

We all know one baby is pretty exhausting and there’s no getting away from multiples being hard work. Make sure you’re sharing baby duties with your partner and even family members like your mum. A routine so your babies are in sync will be a massive help. 

Try to feed your babies at the same time. You can breastfeed  as much as you like – your body will respond and produce as much milk as is needed and it’s a much cheaper and healthier option than formula.

Sleeping isn’t as bad as you would think as multiples more often comfort than disturb one another.

‘If you have twins, letting them sleep together in the same cot can help their sleeping patterns become more similar,’ says Sandra. Triplets and more will probably benefit from the additional space of more than one cot, but you can put the cots next to each other for comfort.

Multiples can be overwhelming, but they are so rare that you’ll find many mums are envious of you. They really are something special and as they grow, will have a ready mad playgroup when you need five minutes to yourself!


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