Twins in the third trimester
Carrying two babies around in the third trimester of pregnancy can be extremely fatiguing and draining. However, almost half of all twins born in the UK arrive before the full term date – 37 weeks for twins – so be prepared to spot any signs of premature labour.
Here one mother recounts how she managed to negotiate the considerable challenges presented by a multiple pregnancy in the home stretch.
Make the most of every ray of sunshine
Up until I reached the mid-point of the second trimester, I was feeling pretty confident that carrying twins was little different from my first experience of pregnancy when I had just the one child.
But by around week 22 I was already suffering considerable hip pain and only the reassurance of a maternity support belt made me feel able to get up and exercise. However, it was exercise which really made me feel better and swimming was the best thing ever – to be weightless in the water was just so lovely.
At first I had tried to ignore the pains I was feeling, particularly pelvic pain, I thought it was perhaps just a leftover from already having had children, but my midwife explained that the weight of my burgeoning belly was putting enormous strain on my spine, joints and ligaments and she referred me to an obstetric physiotherapist. It was also her idea to get in the pool.
I suppose that sometimes people think if you’ve already got kids, having more will be a breeze, but that really isn’t the case, especially if you manage to produce twins.
My advice to any woman experiencing the major discomfort of having two humans growing inside her is to make the most of every offer of help that comes your way. Whether it is other parents offering to take your existing little ones off your hands for an hour or two, neighbours offering food or help with chores, or relations providing practical support of any kind.
Beware though, if you’re invited out to lunch, you might want to first consider whether your belly will allow you to actually fit into the available space at any popular eatery during peak hours. It can be very embarrassing!
My other important bit of the advice is to soak up every ray of sunshine that comes your way, literally. I entered my third trimester just as the spring was beginning to break and there were some days when I was able to recline on a garden seat with a pillow under my knees and nothing, and I mean nothing, felt as good during my pregnancy as closing my eyes and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. Oh remembered bliss.
By weeks 35 and 36 I’d pretty much given up trying to do anything other than waiting for the babies to arrive. Luckily, my partner, friends and family were really good with offers of help, and my parents took our first child away on a little holiday, so I was able to rest, recuperate and prepare myself.
Amazingly, I almost made it to full-term; day four of week 36 was my last at home. Right at the beginning of the day, just after my partner had set off for work, my waters broke and I went into labour, successfully delivering two beautiful girls.
They were worth all the discomfort and the worry, but I think it’s time to stop now ☺