By Suzannah Weiss. Photos: Stocksy.
There have been a lot of twins in the news recently: from a video of YouTube star Natalie Bennett talking about the difference between her two pregnancies (one with twins and one without) to Beyoncé and Amal Clooney announcing they are expecting two babies, multiple births have been on our minds. Of course, caring for two babies is harder than one, but the challenges start even before the twins are born. Rob Atlas, M.D., an ob-gyn at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, calls twin pregnancies "double trouble." Moms carrying twins are at higher risk for premature birth, high blood pressure, and—especially in the case of identical twins—fetal abnormalities. And since twins are often born earlier, many end up spending time in neonatal intensive care.
But moms who do not deal with serious complications also describe twin pregnancies as more annoying. Jennifer Ernst Beaudry, the mother of a girl and two twin boys, felt especially fatigued and got an awful-sounding pregnancy-related rash called PUPPP while carrying her twins. Ellen Borza, who has twins and a baby on the way, took seven vitamins and minerals daily during her twin pregnancy.
"I had to have as much weight on me as possible before my third trimester, as I wouldn’t be able to consume enough calories per day in the last trimester to keep them growing," Borza says. "You feel much more pressure to keep two babies in as long as possible. It’s always on your mind: the uncertainty of not knowing when they will be born and [if you’ll] have to go on bed rest. Then having your doctor [recommend books](http://www.glamour.com/story/how-a-twin-pregnancy-is-different) on what happens if they’re born at 20 weeks or 30 or 38 to mentally prepare yourself for the worst." The upside, though, was getting to see the fetuses every month or so.
"I joke we might not have had more kids if my second pregnancy (our twins) was my sole reference for what being pregnant is like," says Stephanie, the mom of a four-year-old and 19-month-old twins. "By the end I had a walker because my belly was so big, I would tip over…. I was getting punched by four fists and kicked by four legs. It was painful!"
Erika Patten, who has boy-girl twins and a singleton son, had extreme nausea that made her lose 15 pounds in nine weeks during her twin pregnancy. She was swollen, dehydrated, and spent portions of her last four months hooked up to IVs.
"Once we had the ultrasound that confirmed a [single baby this time], I breathed a sigh of relief," Patten says. "The singleton pregnancy flew by!" Moms of only singletons, she remembers thinking, have no idea how easy they have it.
Since twins are difficult both inside and outside the womb, Dr. Atlas says you should solicit extra help if you're expecting twins. "Do not be superwoman," he warns. "You will need your rest."
"Someone told me, from day one, do not treat this like a 'normal' pregnancy," says Stephanie. "And I am so glad I realized that early on. I had to learn to say 'I am pregnant, and I can't do this or that right now.' I had to learn to say no to things."
Patten also advises women pregnant with twins to "take it easy and listen to your body,” rather than expect yourself to have as much energy as you did during your first pregnancy, and to talk to other moms of twins.
"Twin mamas tend to band together," Patten says. "It's a bond I can't explain. We get each other and the craziness, but [we] also know none of us would trade it for the world."
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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