You’ve made it to Week 28 of your twin pregnancy, and the beginning of your third (and final) trimester. Time to give yourself a big pat on the back (or, a nice juicy hamburger) as you’ve just passed another important milestone. For nearly 90 percent of twins born after Week 28 survive. There is still a chance of long-term complications such cerebral palsy, mind you, but your twins’ long-term prognosis at this point is very, very good indeed. And by Week 30, viability jumps further while long-term problems continue to diminish. Yes, you’re doing great, so now it’s time to relax and start nesting!
So what’s going on inside you? Although your twins are nearing their maximum length (although they could grow a few centimeters more in the coming weeks), they will continue to gain body weight. By Week 28, each weighs approximately two and a half pounds, but by Week 30, they’ll tip the scales at more than three and a half pounds. But if you deliver around Week 37, chances are they could top six pounds each. So as you can see, your babies will now really pack on the pounds! But in order to nourish this rapid weight gain, you will need to keep up with your pregnancy diet, one high in protein. (That’s where that big, juicy hamburger comes in handy!)
Physically, you may feel like you’re about to burst, or that your babies are running out of room inside your belly. No worries. Although your twins’ may be a bit more snug, your abdomen is capable of stretching way, way more. But don’t obsess about developing stretch marks, as those streaks and red lines on your skin are highly hereditable, and not necessarily based how big you get. Still, you can try to lessen their appearance after your twins are born (and you are through nursing) by looking into laser therapy, microdermabrasion (with the use of retinoids), or even tretinoin (a retinoid cream that increases collagen). But resist the urge to constantly massage lotions and oils on your belly while pregnant as there is no strong scientific evidence that it will prevent stretch marks. Moisturizing is fine but dropping big bucks on products that claim to prevent stretch marks is just a waste of money. Money that you’ll need once your twins arrive.
But stretch marks are only a small part of your late-pregnancy complaints. You may also be experiencing some serious shortness of breath by now. It’s a perfectly normal albeit frustrating late pregnancy symptom as your growing babies continue to push against your diaphragm making it more difficult for your lungs to fully expand. This was my Number One pregnancy annoyance as even a short walk from my house to my car made me feel as though I had just run a marathon. You can ease the uncomfortable feeling of breathlessness by slowing down your pace and taking your time. When you move more slowly, your heart and lungs don’t have to work as hard. Additionally, sitting up straight and walking with shoulders back will help. And finally, try raising your arms overhead to expand your rib cage.
With all this focus on your body and your babies, you probably haven’t given much thought to your post-twin life, have you? That first month after the arrival of twins is an emotional whirlwind, one that would benefit greatly from a few outside hands. But what if you don’t have the funds to hire a housekeeper, baby-sitter, or doula? No worries. Reach out to family and friends and let the love and help pour in. But start getting the word out now. You can even begin to schedule your family and friends by using this post-twins help schedule. (You can print up as many as you need for free here.)
Finally, during these last few weeks don’t forget to review the symptoms of pre-term labor as your risk increases the closer you get to Week 37. And never hesitate to call your doctor even if you are only slightly concerned. That’s what she’s there for.