Twins & More

a couple sitting on the ground holding hands with two pairs of baby shoes.

A Guide to Twin Pregnancy

A huge Congratulations, you’re expecting twins! It may all seem a little daunting - you're probably panicking at the thought of looking after 2 or even 3 babies, especially if it's your first pregnancy or if you have other small children. Don't worry - we're here to help you along the way.

As multiple pregnancies are classed as higher risk, information is key and there’s likely to be a few differences to your antenatal care that doesn’t affect single pregnancies.

The 11-13-week scan is essential in multiple pregnancies, as this will not only confirm that you’re still carrying more than one baby, it also gives your antenatal care team a chance to find out if your babies are sharing a sac and a placenta, or if they’re developing in their own separate sacs with their own personal placenta! As if your body wasn’t working hard enough

two newborn twins sleeping on a blanket
My gorgeous little men Niall and Luke. Image credit: Nurtured With Love photography

Twin Pregnancy - Types of Twins

here are three types of twins, and this also applies to triplets, although it all gets a bit complicated and your health care provider will explain the complexities of triplets in greater detail. Only 0.03% of multiple births in the UK are triplets, Quads are even rarer!

All non-identical twins are DCDA, and one-third of identical twins are DCDA. The other two-thirds of identical twins are MCDA, and just 1% of identical twins are MCMA.

Scans and timing of delivery

Extra care for multiple pregnancies is essential, and certain circumstances make it even more so. DCDA twins will be scanned every four weeks after 20 weeks, mainly for growth and development reasons. Twins or triplets with their own sac and placenta are normally delivered at around 37 weeks.

However, MCDA and MCMA twins will be scanned every two weeks from 16 weeks. Closer monitoring is required here as these types of twins or triplets have a higher risk of Twin-Twin Infusion Syndrome (TTTS), or umbilical cord entanglement as they’re sharing a placenta and sac.

TTTS affects identical twins sharing a placenta. This abnormality of the placenta happens when abnormal connecting blood vessels in the placenta result in one twin having a higher volume of blood than the other. This can result in serious complications for your babies, and careful monitoring and medication will be standard procedure to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Specialist care will be offered for both MCDA and MCMA pregnancies, and babies are usually delivered between 32-36 weeks of being pregnant. These babies may spend some time in Neonatal Intensive Care to give them the very best start in life.

a pregnant lady holding her belly with her hands in the shape of a heart

Risks and Complications in Multiple Births

No one really wants to think about complications occurring during their pregnancy, and with medical advancement as it is, many issues can happily be solved through a change in lifestyle, rest, and medication where necessary. As with all pregnancies though, health problems can arise, and when they do it’s essential you see your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.

Other Things to Consider…

Keeping the birth plan for your multiple pregnancy as flexible as possible will cut down on disappointment if it turns out you need some assistance in delivering your babies, allowing for a few different eventualities, including suction cup and forceps delivery, or caesarean section. A hospital birth with epidural is usually recommended by your doctor and midwife, as multiple births are seen as higher risk and an emergency situation may arise.

More than half of multiple pregnancies in the UK are delivered by caesarean section. This may be elective due to possible complications (breech presentation, for example), or emergency caesarean during labour when either babies or mum are at risk and delivery has to happen quickly.

Pregnancy of any kind is both an exciting and a worrying time, but with the added risks on your mind that come with carrying more than one baby, you might find yourself feeling more than a little overwhelmed. Joining a multiple birth antenatal group may help – giving you the chance to share your concerns with other parents expecting twins or triplets.

Your hospital bag

Twins and triplets are at higher risk of delivering early, so packing your hospital bag at around 30 weeks is usually a good idea!

For you:

a white sheep and a black sheep hanging from a string

For Baby

Carrying twins or triplets (or more!) is a trying time, and comes with its own separate set of worries – but it also comes with multiple magical moments when you finally hold your babies and marvel at the amazing job your body did of growing two or three tiny humans inside it! Here’s some signs of early labour to look out for:

When to head to hospital


Twins and Multiple Births Association also offers an excellent site full of advice and anecdotes for when there’s more than one set of tiny feet stomping around on your internal organs!

Carrying twins or triplets (or more!) is a trying time, and comes with its own separate set of worries – but it also comes with multiple magical moments when you finally hold your babies and marvel at the amazing job your body did of growing two or three tiny humans inside it!

CHECK OUT THE BLOG for lots of Twin Birth Stories and more info!
Discover everything you need to know about pregnancy, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, newborn care, baby first aid, managing pregnancy and postnatal issues, and handling premature birth with our comprehensive Pregnancy and Parenting Course, all for just £38.

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