Congrats! You’ve made it to your second trimester with twins! By now you’ve probably started to get really excited about meeting your little ones. You’re almost halfway to the finish line and becoming a Mom is becoming more and more real and more and more exciting!
For part one of our trimester by trimester series click here.
For part three of our trimester by trimester series click here.
1. Gestational Diabetes
Because you’re gaining a lot of pregnancy weight, your body can sometimes get a little out of whack, especially with twin pregnancies. Many women get what is known as Gestational Diabetes, which if left untreated, can contribute to early labor, growth issues for the babies, and many other delivery complications. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty you can do to treat and manage GD to keep you and your baby healthy! Make sure you fast in the morning before you take your test. The first one is an hour long and basically make you drink a sugary solution to measure how well your body is processing glucose. If your test comes back with a glucose level higher than 134, you’ll need to take the 3 hour test to confirm if you have GD or not. I wound up having to take both tests and wound up not having gestational diabetes, so don’t freak out if your first one comes in a little high! (I didn’t know I was supposed to fast for the first test…)
Anemia is so very common in twin pregnancy! If your doctor hasn’t told you to, take an iron supplement! Also, use a cast iron pan if you can, it helps add iron. In fact, if you aren’t a vegetarian, then use your cast iron pan to prep red meat. But mostly, be aware that if you get a dragging, lightheaded feeling, and if you get blurry vision, go talk to your doctor to make sure you’re doing what you can to fight off anemia.
3. Iron and Calcium
If you experience anemia (mentioned above) and need to take an iron supplement, your body will actually have a tough time absorbing iron and calcium simultaneously. If you can, take your iron supplement in the middle of the afternoon, with a glass of orange juice (or anything with a lot of Vitamin C). The iron tablets are a little gross, it’s true, but chugging juice helps. That said, chugging juice might exacerbate your acid reflux, which is not fun, so eat a biscuit or something after. Yes, this is real life.
4. Stretch Marks and Twin Skin
There are four things you can do to avoid stretch marks. One: have the no-stretch-mark gene. Ask your mom, if you can, and know that your body will most likely do what hers did. Two: drink a ton of water. Well hydrated skin stretches better; you should be getting at least 100 oz of water a day. Three: Vitamin C from natural sources. Four: Cocoa butter with Vitamin E. Mostly, though, you need to take a breath and ignore it when people say things like, “Twin skin! You’re going to look like you’ve got seersucker for a stomach,” and “Oh wow! How many stretch marks do you have yet?” This morbid fascination with your skin is annoying, and I’m convinced the stress hormones don’t help.
One of the major contributing factors to low amniotic fluid AND early labor is dehydration. These are big risks with a twin pregnancy. I got a 20 oz water bottle and made sure I filled it at least four times, plus water in the morning and evening.
You need more than the normally recommended 1,000 mgs of calcium a day. A cup of milk has 305 mgs. Find something which inspires you to drink the milk twice a day — I try to do two decaf lattes in the morning (610 mgs) and two big glasses with Oreos in the evening. You figure out your thing, but make sure if you’re using a latte to get your milk that it’s decaf, since caffeine inhibits the body’s absorption of calcium.
With twins, you have to get 75 – 100 g of protein a day. Another blog is coming with meal recommendations, but if you aim for at least 25 g per meal and two protein-heavy snacks, you’ll be fine. I recommend a high-protein oatmeal like ThinkThin with greek yogurt for breakfast, if not a couple eggs and high fiber toast. Then, leftover dinner with a chicken breast, tofu, or rice and beans, and for dinner, steak, rice and beans, or fish, and salad. Throw in some string cheese and you’re golden.
Your feet and hands will likely start to swell early in the second trimester, as you are walking around or going about your day. I recommend getting an Enso ring to replace any metal rings you wear. Staying hydrated will reduce your swelling as you’ll cycle fluid throughout the day instead of storing it, but with twins, there’s nothing that will really get rid of it. Avoid salt if you can — it helps. Sorry, ladies.
9. Acid Reflux
I don’t know a lot of singleton moms who with acid reflux, but all the twin moms I know have it. You are producing a ton of relaxin, and that makes your esophagus not be able to keep stomach acid down. If you are drinking ginger tea for your stomach, stop when you start getting acid reflux. Smaller sips of water and smaller meals will help, as will yogurt and fiber. There isn’t much else you can do, though.
10. Little People Kicking Your Stomach When It’s Full
So, you’re going to be really hungry. But if you eat a meal bigger than a plate, your babies will start kicking your stomach and you won’t be able to breathe. Why? Well, your stomach is expanding into your lungs and there isn’t enough real estate for your babies and your organs to deal with a lot of food at once! Wait an hour or two between meals. Which, when you think about it, means you now have license to eat small meals every two hours, and who doesn’t want to do that?
11. Fetal Movement
My first fetal movement was a buzzing sensation, sort of like a cell phone was in my stomach. Most women feel it between 15 and 20 weeks, and it’s dictated less by the number of babies and more by the location of the placenta. If you have an posterior placenta, which is on your back, you’ll feel it sooner. If you have a anterior placenta, which is on your front, you’ll feel it later. You will feel it eventually, though, don’t despair! Try meditating if you are really anxious to feel them. If the stillness doesn’t make them start moving, the meditation will help you feel calmer about it. But then, twin fetal movement is really interesting! You can definitely start to feel the separate babies, and it’s amazing.
12. Sleeping on the left side
In the second trimester, you should sleep on the left. A supportive body pillow helps. I love my snoogle, but get a cover for it because you WILL start sweating too much during this trimester and this will be gross. You have to sleep on the left side because there are veins running along the right side of your spine which feeds your legs and your uterus, and you don’t want to depress this. However, if you need to lie flat on your back to meditate or to relieve back pain, just do it for a few minutes and roll over.
Dadspecting Sidenote: The snoogle is basically the size of a third human and if you sleep on the left side of the bed, it’ll be between you and your partner, which can, umm, affect intimacy. Good news! You can talk to your partner about this. Do it. Talk about things. I did after I realized I was subconsciously resenting the snoogle pillow and we both had a good laugh about it!