What's Different About a Twin Pregnancy?

Answers to Twin Pregnancy Questions

What's different about a twin pregnancy?
What's different about a twin pregnancy?. Martine Doucet / E+ / Getty Images

Question: What's Different About a Twin Pregnancy?

Get the answers to frequently asked questions about pregnancy with twins and multiples. Have a question that isn't answered here? Ask me.


Obviously, the main difference between a twin pregnancy and a regular pregnancy is the presence of two fetuses. At the end of a twin pregnancy, a mother will give birth to two babies, rather than just one.

The experience of a twin pregnancy can also be very different for some women. In some cases, women who are pregnant with twins experience enhanced or increased pregnancy symptoms, such as nauseau, fatigue, or edema (swelling). While it's not quite accurate to say that these symptoms are doubled in a twin pregnancy, the increased levels of hormones do exacerbate them for some women.

The body of a woman pregnant with twins will adapt to accommodate two babies. That means that a women pregnant with twins can expect to grow larger and gain more weight than a woman pregnant with a singleton. She will also require more calories and nutrients.  

In addition, a woman who is pregnant with twins is at greater risk for some medical complications, such as preterm labor, preeclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) and gestational diabetes. Because of these risks, women that are having twins should consult their healthcare provider.

They may require closer medical care, including more frequent office visits, or additional tests. They are encouraged to receive proper medical attention, follow a healthy diet, take in ample fluids, and minimize any activity which puts the pregnancy at risk.

Researchers are still exploring the specific ways that a multiple pregnancy is different from a single pregnancy.

For example, a 2009 study by Edinburgh University found that the biological process of premature birth varied from singleton to multiple birth. The study focused on a progesterone gel treatment that was found to be effective in reducing early births of singletons, but did not have the same effect with multiples. It is hoped that further research to understand the differences will point the way to preventing preterm birth.

More answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Twin Pregnancy


Norman, J., et al. "Progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth in twin pregnancy." The Lancet, Volume 373, Issue 9680, 2034 - 2040.

Staff. "Twin pregnancy: What multiples mean for mom." Mayo Clinic, Accessed January 14, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/twin-pregnancy/art-20048161

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