If you’ve just found out that you’re carrying twins, congratulations! Many expectant mothers feel a host of emotions including joy, excitement, nervousness, shock, or even pride when they find out they’re carrying two babies.
It’s not just the number of babies though. Learning that your twin pregnancy is high-risk is equally unnerving. Don’t let the label scare you. Rest assured, our team at OBGYN Westside, PLLC, on the Upper West Side of New York City, specializes in high-risk pregnancy, including twin and multiple gestations. Good prenatal care increases your chances of having a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about the risks associated with a twin pregnancy and what we do to monitor you throughout your pregnancy.
Carrying twins increases your risk of pregnancy-related complications
No pregnancy is entirely without risk for developing one of these conditions, but mothers carrying twins (or triplets) have a higher risk of developing these issues:
Preeclampsia is a serious blood pressure condition that causes high blood pressure and high protein levels in your urine. It often begins after the 20th week of pregnancy, but it can even develop shortly after childbirth.
Preeclampsia can cause headaches, low platelets, dizziness, shortness of breath, and elevated liver enzymes; and if it’s left untreated, it can cause organ damage. Our team monitors you throughout your pregnancy to spot any warning signs as soon as possible. It’s also one of the reasons we check your urine at each prenatal visit. If we find any protein in your urine, we can take action against preeclampsia.
We also provide guidance to help avoid preeclampsia, such as exercising (if cleared to do so), eating nutrient-dense meals, staying hydrated, and avoiding excess salt and processed foods.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It affects about 10% of all expectant mothers, affecting more twin pregnancies than single pregnancies.
Throughout your pregnancy, we schedule you for glucose screening tests, and if your blood sugar is elevated, we recommend the right treatment for you — lifestyle modifications and, if needed, medication.
Just as with preeclampsia, there are several things you can do to help reduce your risk for gestational diabetes. This includes gentle exercise and eating healthy. Even if you don’t have gestational diabetes, following the dietary recommendations can help keep your blood sugar in check.
Your blood volume increases during pregnancy, and if you have twins, your body needs even more blood. Because your blood volume increases, your body needs more iron (to make more red blood cells). Mothers pregnant with twins have a higher risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia. Left untreated, anemia can lead to low birth weight or preterm birth.
The good news is that anemia is easily diagnosed (through a blood test) and easily treated with dietary modifications and/or supplements.
Fetal growth restriction
About one-quarter of twin pregnancies result in fetal growth restriction. This is a condition in which your babies are smaller than their gestational age. This isn’t uncommon because of the lack of room in utero. Your OBGYN Westside provider tracks your babies’ growth using ultrasound throughout your pregnancy.
Half of all twin moms give birth at less than 37 weeks, which is considered premature.
Keep in mind that just because you’re carrying twins doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily develop any of these conditions. The opposite is also true. Even women who carry only one baby can develop these conditions.
Take care of yourself
While these risks can seem scary, remember that prenatal care goes a long way in helping to prevent, detect, and treat any issues that arise in a timely manner. Whether you need an ultrasound, a blood test, or you have concerns, we’re with you every step of the way.
In addition to your routine prenatal appointments, take time to nurture yourself in other ways. Relax, eat delicious meals, meditate, listen to calming music, spend time on your hobby, or read a favorite book.
Questions about high-risk pregnancy? Give us a call today or book your next prenatal appointment online.