You’re in the home stretch of your pregnancy, it’s your third trimester with twins! Your bodily changes will be going into overdrive in this trimester, but it will be well worth it, as your babies are putting on a lot of healthy weight as they grow bigger and stronger. Most doctors push the due date about two weeks early with twins. Surprisingly, it’s safer and healthy for them to come out a little early, as they will quickly be running out of room and resources to share in your belly as they continue to grow!
If you’d like to read about the second trimester, click here.
If you’d like to read about the first trimester, click here.
1. Foot and hand swelling
I know I sound like a broken record, but drink more water! Your body will have an easier time passing the fluid instead of retaining it if you’re consistently extremely well hydrated.
Second: put those feet up!
Third: if you need to chop something for dinner or stand to organize something or whatever, get a stool. Sitting isn’t as great as elevating, but it’ll help with the swelling a bit (and the back pain).
Fourth: get comfortable, supportive, adjustable sneakers. The laces will allow your shoes to change with your pregnancy. Some people like clogs or slippers with rough bottoms, but I found that the supportive sole of the sneakers helps to keep circulation going and this seems to reduce the swelling.
2. Foot massage
You may have the instinct to ask your partner to massage your swollen feet and hands. Prenatal massage is great, but it’s potentially unsafe for certain pressure points in the hands and feet. Really, any acupressure point should be avoided, but you can always talk to a professional, prenatal-certified massage therapist about how to approach that.
3. Intense fetal movement
The sensation of their movement definitely gets more intense in the third trimester. As the space in there diminishes, they’ll push against you a lot more, carving out space for themselves by pushing their adorable little butts against your tummy. This will be cute, but also really, really uncomfortable sometimes. It makes it intensely hard to breathe when they get antsy. Doing cat-cow and downward dog yoga poses helps. Sometimes rocking back and forth helps, if the movement is keeping you up. I also find that singing a song, preferably the same song, will calm them and cause them to settle down (or wake them up if they’re not moving and you’re worried). I used ‘Edelweiss’ from The Sound of Music. It’s really cool to see the two little butts and all the feet pushing out at the sides! It looks like you’ve got aliens in you, and it’s amazing. I’m sorry there’s nothing you can do about it if they get the hiccups, though, except for laugh.
You should definitely talk to your doctor before attempting exercise in the third trimester! Ask her about swimming, which may make you feel more like a human and less like a whale/boat. Anything you can do to stretch your hips, calves, feet, and back will be much appreciated by your body. Walking will also also help you stay in shape for delivery, but again, check with your doc.
Those babies are growing so fast this trimester! This is exhausting. Be gentle with yourself! You’re probably getting up a lot to go to the bathroom in the night, so nights aren’t as restful as they should be. If you can nap in the early evening after work, do it! You’re not necessarily twice as tired as you would be with a singleton baby, but you’re certainly likely to experience extreme amounts of exhaustion. Digestion may also make you extra tired, so I recommend many small meals. This will help you keep your energy up.
6. Leaking colostrum
You may notice towards the middle or end of this trimester that your nipples are a bit crusty. This means your body is producing colostrum! That’s great! However, you will find it’s itchy if you leave it and it’s probably not good for your breasts. So, every night I took a washcloth soaked in warm to hot water and laid it over each breast. This makes it easier to loosen and remove the crusted colostrum. I’m told that soap will dry out the nipples, and certainly, a warm washcloth is effective. If you’re concerned about this, if what you’re seeing is substantial or any color other than a creamy yellow, or if you are experiencing pain in your nipple or breast then definitely call your doctor. You may also want to read ‘Mothering Multiples,’ a publication from La Leche League. Be aware ahead of time that this book will push breastfeeding so hard that even if you’re planning on trying to breastfeed your twins, you may be turned off, purely out of spite. However, the book contains a remarkable amount of information about breastfeeding multiples, so try to get through the attempt to brainwash as best you can.
Even your feet will sweat when you’re this pregnant! You can change the sheets often or you can lay a towel in your bed to absorb it, it’s up to you. You’re probably sweating all along your back, hips, neck, and even between your legs. You may even sweat enough there to think your water has broken and is leaking. (If this has happened, it will continue doing so in the morning and the next day.) The sweating can exacerbate any pregnancy related skin conditions, such as dermatitis or minor hives. Keep synthetic fibers away from your skin, especially at night. If your skin is breaking out in hives, you can talk to your doc about taking Benadryl. Mine says that Benadryl is fine, and I found it helpful when the sweating made my skin too itchy.
8. Braxton Hicks
These are the worst, right? And they never feel like what you think they’re going to feel like. How do you know it’s BH and not labor? First of all, ask your doc about when she wants you to give her a call, but most of them are going to tell you about the 5-1-1 rule (5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour) or to call if you have more than 6 contractions in an hour. So, you’re going to be feeling what you think might be contractions but you know you’re not supposed to call your doc yet, which is an anxious place to be! Braxton Hicks are correlated with extra stretching in the uterus, and guess what’s happening in your belly right now? So, while your singleton mama friends may not have struggled much with this, you’re very likely to deal with some version of them. I found I was a little overwhelmed by the sensations as well as trying to figure out what was happening to me. I’m not a doctor and you should confer with yours, but here are some things I learned through dealing with them:
- Unlike labor contractions, they do not peak in intensity.
- They can happen on the top, middle, or bottom of the belly.
- They can feel like a tightening, like a shooting, or some people describe them as an ache. They can also feel like a deep twisting.
- They are often accompanied by persistent back aches and intermittent soreness.
- They go away after a few moments or minutes, especially if you drink some cold water or are able to walk around. Even gently squeezing the belly or rubbing it sometimes diminishes the discomfort.
- Braxton Hicks may make you not want to walk around, or if you’re reclining, may make it harder to get up. If you’re in bed, have your partner try some counter pressure or massage.
- Hydration will diminish the sensation, which I imagine is why they can be worse at night. Definitely, drinking water helps a LOT. In my experience, the more well hydrated I am, the less I feel the Braxton Hicks.
- Warm baths with epsom salts and eucalyptus really does help relieve them. If you think your water may have broken, check with your doc before you take a bath.
9. Third Trimester Cramping
I know what you’re thinking: this feels like period cramps! My friend said when she felt period-like cramps, she went into labor the next day! Maybe it’s about to happen! Depending on the week you’re in, this may be welcome or unwelcome news. Clearly, if you feel compelled, call your doc. However, before you get too excited, try pooping. I know that sounds crazy, but your intestines are way above your now enormous uterus, and it’s genuinely difficult for excrement to get out. If you really can’t go, try drinking some coffee or another pregnancy safe laxative. If this and the other things you’re using to help with the Braxton Hicks aren’t working, then sure, you may be about to go into labor in the next few days. However, relax, the only real sign of labor is your water breaking (remember, that only happens prior to labor in 10-20% of cases) or, you know, labor.
10. Farting, pooping, and hemorrhoids
Let’s get the gross parts over with all together. For the same reasons that your back pain could be relieved by going to the bathroom, your whole system is particularly messed up with two babies in there. Look, your uterus is huge. At this point, you have twice the usual amount of baby separating your rectum from most of your intestines. I’m sorry to say, the gas is going to get progressively worse until you give birth and things settle down. It’s also going to get harder and harder to poop, and this will contribute to hemorrhoids. What are hemorrhoids, you ask? They’re swollen blood vessels and veins that may manifest in the form of pain and blood; or, in the form of pain, blood, and a funny little bump or tiny tube protruding from your rectum. Yeah, this is gross. But with the way your muscles are stretched and your intestines are moving around, they’re really totally normal! You are making space for two people in there. Your rectum is paying the price. Invest in some good witch hazel pads, and put some in your purse for work. Buy some Preparation H. Eat roughage and foods with fiber — I recommend ThinkThin Sprouted Grains Oatmeal — and drink lots of water. It’ll get better after you give birth, most likely.
11. Getting the babies in the right position
At this point you either have two head down babies or you’re worried because you don’t have two head down babies and you want one or both of them to move. Going to your chiropractor could help, but it’s really actually up to the babies, I’m sorry to say.
12. Moving side to side in bed hurts
You may feel a pulling, aching, strained feeling when you try to roll over at night. It helps to sit up all the way (I know, this is not easy) and then lay back down on the other side. You can also hold onto your belly with one hand and support it as you try to roll. Will you feel silly? Yes. Will it help? So much. If you can lie on your left side all night, that’s fantastic, and will help a lot with this discomfort. If you sleep on the left side of the bed (as you’re lying on it, not looking at it), it’ll be a lot easier to stay on your left side and get out of bed without too much discomfort.
13. Moving around
Yeah, this does get harder for a lot of women. The fact is that at about 32 weeks your babies are collectively as big and heavy as some singleton babies are on delivery. The hip, joint, and back pain you experience as a result of this is totally understandable. Let me be the first to confess that I was so pissed from all the comments about how I’d be on bed rest eventually that I chose not to slow down much, and this made my life harder. Don’t make the same mistake. If you need to slow down, follow that instinct. Check with your practitioner about whether you should apply heat or cold to your back, but apply one of them.
14.The Pregnancy Waddle
That stereotypical pregnancy penguin gait will likely come your way this trimester. If your babies both turn head down, your hips will get a lot of pressure, and your ability to use your hips effectively will diminish, I’m sorry to say. The back pain and hip pain may very well become unbearable. For me, my IT band became a serious issue. You should consult your doctor, but there are a few easy ways to deal with back and hip pain:
- Ice packs: they tuck nicely into the band of maternity pants, especially maternity yoga pants
- Heating pads: you don’t want to raise your core body temperature while pregnant, so my doc and most other sources say that you should not get into a hot tub or use a heating pad directly on your abdomen. I’m not a doctor, so talk to yours before you take this advice. However, according to mine, it’s not harmful to use a heating pad for 10-15 minutes at a time on your leg or hip. This makes me worried that I’m burning their little faces off, so I can’t bring myself to do it unless the pain is really severe.
- Chiropractor: go!
- Massage therapy: if you can find a prenatal certified therapist, go for it. They should not work on you for more than a half hour at a time, and they should be responsive to your requests about pressure.
We’ll be putting up some more specific content on preparing for the birth, packing the hospital bag, and more soon! But for now, good luck during your third trimester with twins!