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FAQs About Multiple Pregnancies

The Brigham's Comprehensive Care Center for Multiples has compiled answers to some of the most common questions we hear from parents and families of twins, triplets or more.

FAQs about Multiple Pregnancies

What kind of care can I expect to receive at the Center for Multiples?

Our center is designed to support families who are expecting twins, triplets or higher-order multiples. We provide comprehensive multidisciplinary care before, during and after pregnancy. Our goal is to deliver patient-centered care and ensure our pregnancy management addresses the particular needs of each patient and family.

In addition to seeing my obstetrician for routine care, should I also consult with a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist?

Yes. At the Center for Multiples, all expectant mothers see an MFM specialist who is experienced in multiple pregnancies for their obstetrical care. This is especially important if you have a pre-existing condition or experience any complications during your multiple pregnancy.

Do I need to change my diet?

Yes. You should add calories and include lots of protein. Read more about nutrition for women who are pregnant with multiples.

How much water should I drink?

It is recommended that all pregnant women drink eight to 10 large glasses of water daily, totaling 64 to 80 ounces. Meeting this requirement is especially important for women expecting multiples due to the extra demands that growing babies place on your body. Staying hydrated also helps to prevent urinary tract infections, constipation and hemorrhoids. In addition, it may help keep you cool and minimize swelling, as water flushes sodium from your system.

What can I do about my heartburn?

Many women pregnant with twins, triplets or more experience heartburn (also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD). You can ease your symptoms by making small changes in your lifestyle and diet, such as:

  • Eating your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime
  • Elevating your head while sleeping
  • Avoiding dietary triggers (e.g., spicy foods, tomato sauce, fatty/greasy foods)
  • Taking an antacid approved by your obstetrician (most antacids are considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding)
Is it OK to exercise?

Yes. Add moderate aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, yoga, swimming) to your daily routine but avoid high-impact activities. Be sure to speak with your obstetrician if you have any questions or concerns about the level or intensity of your exercise program.

How do I manage my low-back pain?

Many pregnant women experience low-back pain. Following recommendations like these can make you more comfortable:

  • Wearing shoes with good arch support
  • Picking up objects carefully by squatting down, lifting with your knees and keeping your back straight — and asking for help with lifting heavy objects
  • Placing a board between your mattress and box spring if your bed is too soft
  • Sitting in chairs with good back support or using a small pillow to provide additional support
  • Sleeping on your side with pillows between your knees for additional support
  • Massaging or applying heat or cold to the painful area
  • Taking pain relievers approved by your obstetrician to address severe pain
What is gestational diabetes? Should I be concerned?

While carrying multiple babies, your placenta will be larger than with a singleton pregnancy. This will result in the production of more pregnancy hormones, which can increase the likelihood of gestational diabetes. This condition is very common in pregnant women and usually temporary, resolving after pregnancy. All pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes in the third trimester, usually between 24 and 28 weeks. Read more about gestational diabetes and other complications of multiple pregnancies.

When should I expect to deliver my babies?

About 60 percent of twins and nearly all triplets are born prematurely (prior to 37 weeks). The more babies you carry, the greater the likelihood of an early birth. Women carrying twins usually deliver their babies around 36 weeks (opposed to 39 or 40 weeks for a singleton pregnancy). Triplet birth is generally around 32 weeks.

Will my babies need to spend time in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU)?

Babies who are born early at the Brigham may need to spend time in our NICU, which is uniquely prepared to care for multiples who are born prematurely or have other challenges.

How should I go about choosing a pediatrician?

Most of our patients find that recommendations from trusted friends and family who share their values is very helpful. We advise choosing a pediatrician who is close to your home, has flexible hours and is covered by your insurance. You also want to feel comfortable asking questions and discussing topics regarding your children's health and development. Right after birth, your children will be cared for by the Brigham's pediatric service. Follow-up with your pediatrician will be facilitated at discharge.

Have a Question?

We are happy to respond to general questions about multiple pregnancies. Please use our online form to send us your question, and one of our MFM specialists will respond. Your question will be sent and responded to through a private and secure system.

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