Have you ever wondered how it feels different to be pregnant with twins that with just one? I’ve experienced both kinds of pregnancies and births and this is my story. I’ll share all my memories of twin vs singleton pregnancy belly as well as the different symptoms I felt.
Being Pregnant with One After A Twin Pregnancy
I had twins first. Unexpectedly.
I didn’t even know there were two little peas in the pod until an 18-week ultrasound said there were.
Surprise for sure.
And since my twin pregnancy, I have wondered what a singleton baby pregnancy would be like.
Would it be similar? Would I get as big, as my womb was already very stretched out from the previous two occupants? How long would I go since I didn’t have a cut-off gestational date quite like I did with twins (38 weeks)? How much weight would I gain with just one baby? How would I feel? Would I end up with another C-section?
These and many other similar questions swam through my head as I thought about what the difference between a twin pregnancy vs singleton pregnancy might be.
I’m sure I’m not the only mother of twins who had these questions. While not all twin moms have their set of twins (or other multiples) first, many do. And for these women, I would like to answer the above questions as they applied to me.
Twin VS Singleton Pregnancy Symptoms
First, my singleton pregnancy overall was very similar in how I felt, especially in those first few months, to my twin pregnancy.
Less Morning Sickness, Charlie Horses, and Varicose Veins
I had less morning sickness/nausea this time around, though that could have had more to deal with the fact that I was at home all day and could eat a little something anytime I needed to, unlike when I was pregnant with my twins and was going to school full-time and in the marching band as well.
I also didn’t have as much of a problem with pregnancy varicose veins or Charlie horses when I was pregnant with just one.
Same Amount of Minor Symptoms
I had a similar amount of heartburn, indigestion, and fatigue. That didn’t change much at all, actually.
Easier Time Understanding Kicks and Jabs
Having only one child swimming around inside of your belly is much different than having two or more. I could much more easily and readily guess what those lumps, jabs, and swooshes were going on inside of my abdomen.
With twins, you not only have a harder time guessing what body part that was, but whose it was as well.
Less Weight Gain With Singleton Pregnancy
Joyously, I didn’t gain as much weight (my biggest fear) the second time around! With the twins I gained about 50lbs, going to almost 38 weeks gestation with them. With one baby I gained about 35-40lbs and went to just shy of 42 weeks gestation.
Pregnant Belly Differences in Twin Pregnancy
However, with the singleton pregnancy, I started to show much sooner than I did with the twins. But, I’m pretty sure that’s just how most subsequent pregnancies go though.
And I did and didn’t get as round. While my belly did end up sticking out as much as my twin pregnancy (basketball/torpedo style), there was a difference: I wasn’t as round at the top. I still had room under my rib cage. I could breathe easier with a singleton pregnancy, even at the end.
And the one little guy didn’t kick me in the ribs. With twins, I had no room under my rib cage as there was a child floating around up there! (See my 40-week singleton belly picture HERE)
Gained New Stretch Marks
I didn’t gain any more stretch marks on my belly (as if I could), but I did get stretch marks on my butt, of all places. My belly didn’t itch hardly at all like it did when I had two in there.
Same Amount of Later-Term Pain
I still had round ligament pain, lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, and a baby pinching those sciatic nerves, though. As well as having to figure out how to sleep while pregnant.
VBAC After Twin C-Section
I was really nervous about giving birth with my singleton pregnancy, however.
Since I had a scheduled C-section with the girls, I didn’t even know what a real contraction felt like.
This pregnancy, I didn’t know how I would handle it. I didn’t know how much it would hurt. I knew I wanted a vaginal delivery, but I was scared.
Thankfully, I handled the early contractions and labor fairly well, though I did end up getting an epidural after more than 24 hours of labor.
But, I am so happy to report that I did not have a repeat C-section! I was able to deliver my singleton son vaginally. (Read his full birth story HERE.)
While doing so meant I had the wonderful privilege of waiting 13 days after his due date until I was able to hold him in my arms, I am so glad I had a successful VBAC.
With twins at home, I did not want to laid up in the hospital for 3-4 days, be on drugs for several weeks, and have a hard time picking them and other toys and things up around the house. (Read THIS post for more of my reasons to opt for a VBAC.)
I wanted an easier, quicker recovery from childbirth, especially since we would not be having any help after we came home.
Better Recovery From VBAC
To my happiness, it is indeed how my recovery was with a VBAC. My son is now 6 weeks old, and I have been feeling great, most of the time. My body has bounced back much quicker.
I was only on a simple ibuprofen for about a week postpartum, not codeine for two weeks. My bottom was sore instead of my abdomen.
A VBAC meant that I was still able to take care of my twin three-year olds by myself. I was able to comfortably pick them up for the first time in months (no pregnant belly in the way).
I had more energy to play with them, after a short while, as I was no longer winded after I climbed the stairs, like I was while pregnant.
Also, my son spent zero time in the NICU.
One of my twins, though born at almost 38 weeks, spent two days in the NICU, recovering from a partially collapsed lung.
With my singleton birth, I also got to hold my child immediately afterward, unlike with the twins. I didn’t hold either of my girls until four hours had passed after delivery, and then only one of them.
With my son’s birth, I was able to leave the hospital after a short 38 hours after giving birth. I stayed four days at the hospital after I had my C-section delivery of my twins.
If you had twins first, how did your pregnancy compare to a subsequent singleton pregnancy? Better or worse? Did you have a repeat C-section (if you had one the first time)? What did you fear most?
This post was originally written for How Do You Do It? and is shared here with permission.