Multiple pregnancy antenatal care

How will your multiple antenatal care be different?

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Perhaps initially you were concerned to find you’re expecting more than one baby, but you are not alone – there are more than 10,000 multiple births in the UK every year.

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Your pregnancy may be treated as ‘high risk’, but you should always keep in mind that having more than one baby is a natural process. The label of ‘high risk’ does not mean you will experience complications, only that doctors need to monitor you more carefully.

Many mums-to-be find this extra level of antenatal care reassuring.

Remember: women regularly give birth to healthy, happy multiple babies, and you can too.

Find out whether your hospital has a midwife or doctor who specialises in multiple births and try to arrange your antenatal appointments with her.

Do not feel hurried through your antenatal appointments; ask for extra time if necessary to discuss issues that concern you. As you are expecting more than one baby, it is likely that you will attend antenatal appointments more frequently than women expecting only one baby.

Make sure you ask the following questions at your antenatal check-ups:

  • What is the hospital procedure for multiple births?
  • How will my antenatal care be arranged?
  • How often will I be seen, where and by whom?
  • What antenatal tests and scans will I be having and do they carry any risks?
  • What type of foods should I be eating and how much?
  • Does the hospital offer any multiple-specific antenatal classes?
  • Can I visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)?
  • Do you have any advice on how to feed my babies? Are there any midwives who specialise in supporting mothers of multiples breastfeeding?

Ultrasound scans
Your first ultrasound scan is likely to take place at 10-14 weeks. This will confirm the number of foetuses and whether they are in separate or single amniotic sacs.

The sonographer will also be checking to see if the babies share a placenta and are therefore at risk of complications such as Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

Twins sharing the same gestational sac are also at risk of cord accidents and will be monitored closely.

An anomaly scan at 18-22 weeks will check that your babies are developing normally.

Unlike women carrying a single foetus, you are likely to have several more ultrasound scans during the third trimester to check how the babies are growing and their relative positions.

You will be scanned at about 34 weeks, when the position of the leading twin will determine the mode of delivery.

©Tamba 2009

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Visit tamba.org.uk for more information about multiple pregnancies, and to download Tamba’s free publication The Healthy Multiple Pregnancy Guide.

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