Your body will go on an incredible journey as you nurture the babies developing in your uterus to the point where they can exist outside.

A pregnant woman relaxing outside

Looking after yourself

Taking good care of yourself during your pregnancy both physically and mentally is important. We have information that can help.

Taking good care of yourself in pregnancy starts with eating well. While there’s not much research on what that means for a woman carrying twins, triplets or more, the NHS promotes healthy, balanced meals for all pregnant women.

In the absence of any real science, it’s probably best to aim for healthy, balanced meals along the lines the NHS promotes to all pregnant women. You will need to drink plenty of fluid, ideally eight large glasses of water a day as a minimum.

You will need more protein, calcium, iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12 than in a singleton pregnancy, so make sure you have a varied diet. Try to eat little and often. Fresh foods are likely to give your body more of what it needs nutritionally than foods that have been processed. Taking a pregnancy supplement is also a good idea.

It’s worth bearing in mind that sugary snacks can give you highs and lows which may be unpleasant and can also lead to developing diabetes in pregnancy. Slow-burning foods such as whole grain breads and crackers, vegetables, beans, oats, brown rice and whole grain pasta will tend to keep your blood sugar more stable and may satisfy you for longer.

For more on what foods to include and what to avoid, download our Healthy Multiple Pregnancy Guide.

Boring but important, pelvic floor exercises do minimise the risk of a prolapsed uterus later in life, as well as help your pelvic floor return to normal after the babies are born. To do them, tighten the muscles around your vagina and anus (it feels like stopping the flow of urine) and count to five before relaxing the muscles. Do this ten times, repeating the whole routine five times a day. It can help if you put a discreet note somewhere where you’ll see it regularly or set a reminder on your phone reminding you to do a set. No one need know...

Gentle exercise during pregnancy can ease tension and help your muscle tone. Don’t do anything where balance is key as your centre of gravity will be changing as your belly grows. Low-impact sports like walking and swimming suit the majority of people. Whatever you choose, start slowly and stop if you feel any cramping, pain or shortness of breath.

Try to look after your emotional wellbeing as well as physical health. The extra hormones can sometimes make you feel emotional and overwhelmed. This is normal, even though it may surprise or upset you when it happens, especially if it isn’t how you usually react.

Expectant mothers vary in size as in any pregnancy, but you can certainly expect to gain more weight  and your belly will grow larger than in a singleton pregnancy. In addition to the extra baby or babies, multiples mums carry extra placentas, amniotic fluid and maternal body fluid. There are certain conditions that can cause excess amniotic fluid, though, so do tell your multiples healthcare team if you’re concerned.

Keeping comfortable can be a challenge. It’s probably best not to plan too much towards the end of your pregnancy as your body is working extra hard and you’ll likely be tired. Plus getting in and out of cars and negotiating seatbelts can become tricky.

As the babies grow, keeping physically comfortable can be a challenge. It’s probably best not to plan a huge amount of activity for the last few weeks of pregnancy – getting in and out of cars as well as negotiating seatbelts can become difficult, and you will probably be more tired with all the extra work your body is doing. It can help to swap tips with other pregnant mums (as well as share experiences) via local clubs or call Twins Trust Twinline on 0800 138 0509. Our helpline is here to provide the support you need. Sometimes you may just need a listening ear from somebody that has been in your situation.

Multiple birth pregnancies are considered higher risk (though plenty go without a hitch) and there are certain conditions that occur only in multiple pregnancies, so you should receive specialist maternity care. This will include more appointments and scans and increased contact with specialists, so you’ll have a different appointment schedule to someone pregnant with a singleton.

Appointments should take place at a twin/ triplet clinic where you see the same group of midwives, sonographers and obstetricians, who should all have a specialist interest in multiple pregnancies.

Multiples grow and develop at about the same rate as singleton babies, but even in the early stages there are differences in a twin, triplet or more pregnancy. Twins Trust has created a Pregnancy Countdown Tool to support expectant parents and help you make informed choices about pregnancy and care.

Each week the tool will give you a heads-up on changes you might be experiencing, send information on how your babies are developing in the womb, tell you what care you should expect, and signpost you to resources relevant not just to your pregnancy but to when you’re finally holding your babies in your arms.

Common pregnancy symptoms

Inevitably, there are aches, pains and discomforts along the way because of the sheer scale of the task you are accomplishing. If any symptoms worry you, talk to your doctor or midwife so they can reassure you or do further investigations. Here are some of the most common problems.

Morning sickness is badly named. While some women do get a bout of acute nausea in the mornings, others get it in the evenings or even all day. A lucky few don’t suffer it at all.

Higher hormone levels in a twin, triplet or more pregnancy do make you more likely to suffer nausea, but there are things you can do about it. The main cause is low blood sugar, so try to eat little and often. Some women find regular nibbles of dry biscuits help. Others have found relief by wearing a travel sickness band.

Different foods trigger nausea in different women. The commonest culprits are oily or spicy foods and foods with strong odours. Avoid these if it helps. You can also try eating foods rich in zinc (dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, ginger, maize, nuts and pulses), which has been found to help combat morning sickness.

If you vomit three times a day for three days, contact your doctor or midwife for some help so that your body doesn’t start to miss out on important minerals and fluid.

Indigestion often gets worse when you are hungry, so eat little and often. Some foods make it worse: try avoiding cheese, spicy foods, tomatoes and chocolate.

A glass of milk before bed can help to neutralise acid in the stomach. You can also try sleeping in a more upright position, either by propping yourself up with pillows or by sticking some books under the bed at the head end.Gentle exercise such as yoga helps some, while others swear by hot drinks like peppermint, ginger and fruit teas. If all else fails, speak to your midwife or doctor, you can get a prescription for Gaviscon or other medication.

More fluid circulates round your body in pregnancy and, owing to gravity, some of it collects in your feet. If they swell up, avoid tight-fitting socks or shoes, and sit down with your feet up as often as possible. Gentle exercise such as walking and swimming can help disperse the fluids.

Extra supplies of the hormone relaxin can also leave you with aching knee joints. Again, rest up and support your knees where possible.Although swelling is normal, if it appears suddenly and is accompanied by swelling in your hands and/or face, it may be a sign of preeclampsia. Tell your doctor or midwife if this happens at once so they can rule this out or make sure you get appropriate monitoring.

The extra blood needed to nurture your babies can put pressure on your veins. Varicose veins are swollen veins just below the skin, and they can become uncomfortable towards the end of pregnancy. A doctor can prescribe support tights or stockings.

Shoes with a small heel (not flat and not too high) may reduce the onset of varicose veins. It also helps to put your feet up and avoid long periods of standing.

Issues you may face

Every pregnancy is different, and your body is doing something incredible. Pregnancy can present itself with various symptoms.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr Surabhi Nanda and Dr Geraint Lee answer your questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Each week our Pregnancy Countdown Tool gives you a heads-up on changes and how your babies are developing

Help and Information