What kind of antenatal care can I expect during my twin pregnancy?
When you’re expecting two babies, you should receive more than the standard 7-10 antenatal appointments and the two ultrasound scans arranged for single pregnancies. As multiple pregnancy is considered higher risk, it is usual to be referred to a consultant for antenatal care. Depending on your medical circumstances, most women expecting twins will be asked to attend the consultant’s clinic for a monthly check-up, whilst also seeing their midwife every four weeks in between (so you visit either the clinic or the midwife every two weeks).
It is very important not to miss these appointments, so that your blood pressure and urine can be checked for signs of pre-eclampsia and diabetes, and other common conditions such as anaemia can be detected. If your babies were conceived as a result of IVF treatment, your consultant may wish to see you more frequently than normal, to monitor your progress.
The antenatal care you will receive depends partly on whether you are carrying identical or non-identical (also called fraternal) twins. If your babies share the outer membrane and one amniotic sac, you can expect increased scans and monitoring. This is due to the greater risk of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), which occurs when one baby grows at the expense of the other and can cause serious problems.
If your babies share a membrane but have separate amniotic sacs, or are fraternal twins formed from separate eggs (each with their own membrane and amniotic sac), the risks to their health in the womb are much lower.
You should also have ultrasound scans more frequently in the last trimester (weeks 28 to 40) of pregnancy, to check the growth and position of the babies and placenta(s). Although twins are much more likely than single babies to be born prematurely (37 weeks is considered full term for a twin pregnancy), many women do reach 40 weeks or more. Some consultants will suggest induction of labour at this point, while others may be happy to continue monitoring the babies (often on a daily basis) until labour begins spontaneously.
Also, if you have an existing condition such as diabetes or epilepsy, your health and that of your babies during pregnancy will be more closely followed. You should expect to see your midwife and consultant more often.
Published Date 2010-12-15
Last Review Date 2009-01-15