Chances are, the first words you'll hear after finding out you're carrying more than one are "high-risk pregnancy." But don't panic: It just means you'll need to be monitored closely by your doctor, as multiple pregnancies carry a higher rate of health problems, including preterm labor and preeclampsia (a condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine). "Being pregnant with just one baby puts a lot of stress on your body, so it's even harder physiologically if you're carrying two or more," says Samuel Bender, M.D., clinical assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City.
Many doctors will recommend that moms of multiples come into the office for a checkup every other week during the second half of their pregnancy. From 20 to 32 weeks, your doctor will probably perform an ultrasound at each of those visits in order to measure the length of your cervix (a good indicator of whether you're likely to deliver early), as well as to track the growth of each of your babies.
It's also particularly important for moms of multiples to have a carefully considered birth plan. Although you may have talked about delivery options when you first got the exciting news, by the last month of pregnancy (around 33 weeks), it's unlikely that the position of your babies will change, so it's a good time to have another conversation with your obstetrician. If you're having twins and both babies are head down, you could be a candidate for a vaginal delivery. Your doctor might even consider a natural birth if the first baby is head down and the second baby is breech -- as long as baby number two is about the same size as baby number one and your doctor is experienced in delivering a second twin as a breech. But in cases where the first baby is breech, regardless of the position of number two, a C-section delivery is the most likely scenario.