Welcome to the second trimester of your twin pregnancy. By Week 15 to 16, each of your twins weighs nearly a quarter of a pound (about 100 grams), and is about four inches long. Tiny now but during the second trimester, your babies will experience rapid growth.
By now you probably have a decent baby bump too, making maternity clothes a must. While a mom expecting a singleton at Week 15 is barely showing, your fundal height, on the other hand, is measuring approximately four to six weeks ahead of hers! Thus the bigger belly.
And with that bigger belly comes some breathlessness as your uterus pushes against your diaphragm making it more difficult for your lungs to expand. You’ll be breathing hard after just a few minutes of walking. It’s nothing to worry about—it’s one of the most common complaints of moms carrying twins (but just in case do call your doctor if you feel you can never catch your breath).
Your babies are active, too, kicking their legs and moving their arms deep inside your uterus. There’s plenty of intratwin interaction going on as well. Have you felt them kick yet? If not, no need to worry as it’s still early. Be patient; the first true kick is just days away.
Week 15 to 16: Time to Slow Down
Sorry to break it to you but this is the time in your pregnancy where you should consider slowing down. (Hear that all you Type-A Moms?) Specifically, you need to shelve those three-mile jogs and weekend hikes, the housecleaning marathons and even the Saturday afternoon trip through the shopping mall. While it’s often considered safe for a mom pregnant with a singleton to exercise normally throughout her nine months, a mom carrying twins can’t. Why? Several reasons. When you exert yourself through cardiovascular activity, blood flow that would normally go to your babies now is detoured to your muscles. The result can trigger preterm contractions or worse, preterm labor.
You know the old saying, “It’s not what you make but how much you keep?” Well, the same can be said about your twin pregnancy. It’s not only how much you eat but how much you keep! Embracing a more sedentary lifestyle right now will help pack on the pounds, ultimately benefiting your babies with more nutrients to plump them up. When you forego exercise, the calories you would have burned are now diverted to your growing babies. And they need them in order to make their grand entrance at 37 weeks big and healthy.
Yet giving up your daily workout isn’t enough. You need to slow down your lifestyle, too. Constantly being on the go from work to home to a night out on the town is not much better in your condition as it can cause fatigue, another trigger of preterm labor in some women. It’s a harsh reality for many moms carrying twins but it’s only temporary. Besides, the payoff is well worth it! Two healthy babies.
So what should you do? Simple. Slow down. Sit down. Lie down. (Trust me: Once those babies arrive you’ll be on the go once again so try to enjoy the calm now.) Never be on your feet for more than an hour at a time. (Research has shown that women who stand for more than six hours at a time while pregnant are three times more at risk for preterm birth.) Make it part of your routine to lie down several times a day for a minimum of twenty minutes (once mid-morning and then again in the late afternoon). When you’re prostrate it boosts blood circulation to your babies and takes stress off your cervix as well. But avoid lying on your back as it can restrict major blood vessels and decrease blood flow to your babies. Instead, choose to recline on your left side as it puts the least amount of stress on major organs.
Other tips? Always choose sitting over standing. Leave the heavy lifting, mopping and vacuuming to your partner or spouse. Choose to snuggle with your young children on the couch rather than picking them up for a hug. Take the elevator rather than the stairs. For household chores, put a stool next to the sink so you can rest one foot on it while doing the dishes, or pull up a chair next to the dryer and sit as you sort and fold clothes. While at work, elevate your feet while sitting at your desk. Take your lunch break lying on a couch or worse case, reclined in the back seat of your car! Utilize wheelchairs or motorized carts while shopping or visiting amusement parks.
Listen to your body and learn to obey its signals.