It’s a steep learning curve this parenting, and even more so if you discover you’re having twins…
Chances of having twins are now 1 in 80 pregnancies (this has increased in recent years, especially due to IVF, and also to women having babies later)
Two thirds of twins will be ‘fraternal’, one third will be the more rare ‘identical’
Identical twins are a completely random event in nature; fraternal twins are usually hereditary because some women have a predisposition to release more than one egg per cycle
Fraternal twins (what we’re having) means two different eggs were fertilised, they will not be identical, could be different sexes and will have their own placentas and amniotic sacks (this is a good thing for them, it means more chance of staying in longer and being bigger when they’re born). They only share 50 per cent of their genes and are therefore no more alike than brothers and sisters.
Identical twins occur when one fertilised egg splits creating two ‘zygotes‘; they can share placentas and sacks, and they also share 100 per cent of their genes, meaning they will always be the same sex and have the same things such as hair and eye colour
‘Full Term’ for twins means 37 weeks, and twins are born on average at 35 weeks + 6 days. They can stay in longer, but some also come earlier (you soon learn that your entire pregnancy goal is to have big babies carried as close to term as you can).
Your pregnancy is immediately marked ‘complicated’ – and you are scanned every four weeks because the fundal height measurement they use in singleton pregnancies becomes null and void when you are carrying two or more babies. You are also at a higher risk for both gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
Until the 20 week scan the babies move around a lot inside the womb, swapping positions and sides. After this they get too big to do constant backflips, and the sonographer will designate one the ‘presenting twin’ (lower down basically) and call them Twin 1 and Twin 2
As your babies grow, the size of your uterus will be on average 6-8 weeks ahead of where a mother with a singleton pregnancy will be (so at four months you could look six months pregnant)
Everybody will be REALLY excited when you tell them. It’s still pretty amazing news and the attention and excitement is lovely. Expect lots of questions.