Expecting Twins? You're in Good Company
Having recently given birth to gorgeous twin sons, celebrity trainer and mom of three Kristin McGee has offered up some helpful tips for expecting moms– especially those experiencing a multiples pregnancy. As a Pilates and yoga instructor, wellness coach, and author (some of the many hats she wears), Kristin has developed a breadth of knowledge in training women and men of all ages.
Today, Kristin and I are launching the all-new Prenatal Yoga Sculpt Workouts. This collection of yoga and Pilates workouts can be customized to your day and your physical abilities, depending on how you’re feeling and the level of exercise intensity your doctor has cleared you for. So if you’re expecting — whether one baby or higher-order multiples, you can follow along with a fellow twin mom-to-be & me, as we guide you through safe and effective prenatal exercises.
Twins By Trimester
Twins and higher-order multiple pregnancies can be extra challenging on your body, so being in tune with your body becomes even more essential to staying comfortable and avoiding injuries and complications. With the experience of twin pregnancy still fresh in her mind, Kristin has shared a few tips for every trimester– great for every pregnant mom!
– Breathing is a crucial component in making it through nausea. For me, this was one of the hardest times due to the increased HCG levels. In a multiples pregnancy, HCG (the culprit for morning or all day sickness) is so high, so it can be a tough experience especially because you’re growing babies and may have a loss of appetite. You can use peppermint oil and lemon oils for aromatherapy, which can be very effective at reducing symptoms of nausea.
– Be sure to drink lots of water, both in the first trimester and throughout pregnancy. Keeping well hydrated encourages your mind to stay sharp and your body to move more fluidly, both of which might feel a little sluggish thanks to those heightened HCG levels.
– Get lots of fresh air. Step out for a walk on your lunch breaks or practice deep-breathing yoga for a few moments outside. Fresh air is rejuvenating for the mind and can help improve circulation and the effectiveness of your exercises. Pregnancy can be mentally and physically exhausting, so taking a few moments to clear the mind can do amazing things!
– Eat quality carbs. Fueling your body with the right types of carbohydrates will provide the nutrition and energy you need to grow your babies and keep up with your daily schedule. Rather than reaching for processed, bleached carbs for a pick me up (that donut won’t keep you going for very long) opt for fruits, veggies, and complex carbs like steel cut oats, brown rice or protein-packed quinoa to fuel your body longer. It’s a bonus that these simple foods can also be easier on the stomach than processed options, so if you’re feeling queasy a small serving packs a lot of punch!
– Practice yoga and meditation. With all the changes you’re experiencing and anticipating (more than one newborn!?!) pregnant mamas can feel overwhelmed! Yoga and meditation have amazing physical benefits for fitness and strengthening, and also encourages mindfulness and quieting the many thoughts and worries that plague our day. Taking some time to collect your thoughts and calm your breathing can be like hitting the reset button on your stress and help you enjoy every moment of your pregnancy.
For most moms who aren’t on bed rest or have any complications with a twin pregnancy, the second trimester is a time to move and stay active. I did a lot during my second trimester, I listened to my body, and I only did what felt good. With my twin pregnancy, I only gained about 45 lbs total.
– Fit in appropriate and comfortable exercises. To help maintain a steady weight gain, reduce injuries and discomforts, and even potentially improve your laboring experience, practicing prenatal approved exercises will keep your body fit for the big day and beyond. Don’t forget, the stronger you are, the easier it will be on your body to carry the extra weight of a multiples pregnancy.
– Anticipate upcoming growth. The second trimester may allow you to be a little more flexible and comfortable when moving and sleeping, so do as much of both as feels good. Yoga, meditation and other exercises can help improve your sleep quality– and rest is an important component in a healthy pregnancy!
Expect to deliver around 35-37 weeks, this is normal for a twin pregnancy and can be earlier with higher-order multiples. I was lucky that I was able to carry my twins to 38 weeks, and had healthy babies at 6 lbs 8 oz & 7 lbs 1 oz. I believe that staying fit and active, and eating well helped my body adjust to the augmented changes of a multiples pregnancy.
– Prepare for delivery day. Your prenatal yoga and meditation practice can be useful during labor. Learning to find strength in your breath, and to clear your thoughts to focus your mind can improve your delivery experience. Whether you’re hoping to have a vaginal delivery or will require a c-section, the physical demands of labor and postpartum recovery will be less challenging with good physical and emotional preparation.
– Practice chair yoga moves. Any supported exercises can be a great alternative if you feel heavy or lethargic just to keep blood flow going. In late third trimester your center of balance and shift in weight can upset your balance, so be sure to exercise in ways that feel comfortable and safe.
Want to know a little more about twins? Here are some interesting facts:
More women are waiting longer to have a baby, and natural hormonal changes as you mature make it more likely that your body will release more than one egg at a time – and more than one fertilized egg often means more than one baby!
As you grow “older”, you increase your chances of having fraternal twins or higher order multiples due to higher follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) than women who are younger. FSH is also the hormone that causes an egg to mature in preparation for ovulation each month, and women with a little extra FSH may release more than one egg in a single cycle.
I know that women hear all the time that they statistically less likely to get pregnant when they enter the 40+ range. Remember, biological age and chronological age don’t run concurrently- so you are not your age! And age is one of more than 17 different fertility factors- not the single determinate.
If there are twins in your family, this also increases your natural chances of twinning!
Join Kristin and me in our new Prenatal Yoga Sculpt DVD!