Morning sickness is a common symptom experienced by many women during the first trimester of pregnancy. For some women, these symptoms may happen sooner and more intensely when carrying multiples. This is because the body produces a large amount of hormones in response to multiple fetuses. It’s important to know what to expect when it comes to morning sickness with twins so that you can prepare accordingly.
In this article, we will discuss:
- When morning sickness usually starts for expecting mothers carrying twins.
- Tips for coping with symptoms.
- Red flags that require medical attention.
What is Morning Sickness?
Morning sickness is an expected side effect of pregnancy that usually occurs in the first trimester. It is characterized by general discomfort, nausea, and vomiting and can be a source of concern for expectant mothers. In the case of twins, however, morning sickness may start even earlier than the first trimester due to the increased production of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is responsible for many typical pregnancy symptoms including morning sickness.
During early twin pregnancies, hCG levels tend to increase at a faster rate which can result in increased frequency and severity of morning sickness symptoms. Additionally, due to increased stress on the body resulting from carrying two babies instead of one, some women may experience a more extreme form of morning sickness also known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
For most women with twin pregnancies, however, morning sickness will start between three weeks and one month after conception and last through the entire first trimester with varying levels of intensity. The worst symptoms often occur between 5-11 weeks into gestation and then gradually ease up over the course of 12-14 weeks when your pregnancy hormones begin to level off before labor begins.
Causes of Morning Sickness
Morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy affects approximately 70-80% of women. While morning sickness is typically associated with singleton pregnancies, typically starting around 6 weeks gestation, it can start earlier for those with twins. It’s estimated that around 15-20 percent of pregnant women will experience nausea prior to 6 weeks in a twin pregnancy. It’s important to have the cause of morning sickness cleared up by your doctor in order to make sure nothing else is going on that could affect the health and safety of your twin pregnancy.
Common causes of morning sickness during a twin pregnancy include:
- Hormonal changes: Rapidly increasing levels of hCG in the body due to a multiple pregnancy create an environment more conducive for morning sickness.
- Competition for essential nutrients: As there are two babies competing for maternal resources, nausea can be worse as the body works harder to ensure both babies get what they need.
- Placenta size: Placentas tend to be bigger in twin pregnancies than singletons, and may contribute more hormonal influences that can increase the chance of suffering from morning sickness.
- Low blood sugar levels: The extra work placed on a mother’s body when carrying twins combined with low blood sugar levels can contribute globally and specifically to nausea and vomiting throughout the day.
- Exhaustion: The extra strain on the mother during a twin pregnancy often leads to increased levels of fatigue which can cause feelings of queasiness.
Symptoms of Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a common and normal experience for pregnant women, including those who are expecting twins or multiples. Generally, for all expectant mothers, nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness can start as early as the 4th week of pregnancy and usually peaks at 8-10 weeks. For mothers expecting twins or multiples though it can start a little earlier – some mothers can experience morning sickness symptoms as early as the 2nd week of pregnancy.
Morning sickness is caused by a combination of hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and elevated levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). For women expecting more than one baby, hCG levels usually rise higher at faster rates due to increased hormone production from more than one fetus. That’s why some moms may experience symptoms earlier in their twin pregnancies than in singleton pregnancies.
Every woman experiences pregnancy differently—how severe your morning sickness is will depend on you. Although there’s no sure way to predict the exact onset or severity of symptoms, there are things that you can do to make it manageable:
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
- Avoid spicy or heavy foods
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid strong smells or odors
- Carry snacks with you when leaving the house
- Try ginger extract, such as ginger tea or ginger ale
When Does Morning Sickness Start with Twins?
Knowing when morning sickness will start with twins can be beneficial for expecting mothers so they can prepare for the possible symptoms ahead of time. Morning sickness is a common symptom of pregnancy caused by the increase levels of hormones in the body. With twins, the symptoms may be more severe and can start earlier than in singleton pregnancies.
Let’s dive into the details of morning sickness and twins.
Factors That Affect Timing
The timing of when morning sickness will start in a twin pregnancy depends on a variety of factors, including the mother’s individual metabolism, level of hormones and specific type of twins. Hormonal levels typically peak around weeks 7-12 for women who have been trying to conceive, triggering the onset of morning sickness. For twin pregnancies, these levels begin to climb a little faster and may cause symptoms to appear earlier.
Levels of the hormone HCG are likely to be higher during twin pregnancies than single pregnancies. This is because twin placentas produce more HCG than one, triggering more nausea and vomiting in some women earlier on in pregnancy.
The type of twins being carried also may impact when morning sickness begins. Women carrying fraternal twins typically experience similar morning sickness as they do with any singleton pregnancy. On the other hand, when carrying identical twins, this can result in higher levels hormones that manifest earlier sometimes with more severe symptoms than in fraternal pregnancies due to a phenomenon referred to as Vanishing Twin Syndrome (VTS). In VTS one embryo ceases to exist inside the uterus but the woman’s body continues producing HCG hormone causing high hormonal levels that can result in increased morning sickness intensity and duration for a longer period of time.
Overall, HCG production is unique for each woman’s body therefore it is impossible to predict an exact time as when you can start experiencing nausea or vomiting with twin pregnancies as most changes are happening within individually specialized conditions and situations. To best prepare yourself for whatever may arise it is recommended that you keep an eye on your general health before and during your pregnancy period alongside having regular communication with your healthcare provider if any concerns arise along the way.
Impact of Hormones
As with any pregnancy, morning sickness is caused by rapidly changing hormones in the body. But, when there are two babies in the womb, hormone levels are even higher. According to experts, hormone levels take more time to even out in multiple pregnancies so morning sickness can start earlier and be more intense than with a single baby. That said, every woman will have a different experience with morning sickness during her twin pregnancy and symptoms may arise at almost any point during each trimester.
In a twin pregnancy, it’s important for mom to pay special attention to nausea and vomiting as these symptoms can lead to dehydration if not kept in check. To help ease some of the discomfort associated with morning sickness, certain foods or activities may be beneficial. Some common suggestions include:
- Eating smaller meals throughout the day or snacking on high protein snacks (particularly first thing in the morning).
- Engaging in gentle physical activity or relaxations techniques like yoga or meditation.
- Some women find relief through products specifically designed for pregnant women such as vitamin B6 supplements or organic ginger teas/drinks.
While there are many factors that can play into when a pregnant woman experiences morning sickness, twins can potentially make it worse. Experts suggest that up to 80% of women experience some level of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, including those pregnant with twins. However, due to the elevated hormone levels associated with carrying two babies, morning sickness for someone expecting twins may become more intense or happen at an earlier stage in the pregnancy than what is usually expected.
Other factors can also affect the intensity and timing of morning sickness during a twin pregnancy. For instance, the number of placentas present can influence how and when symptoms begin. A single placenta will not typically cause any additional morning sickness in comparison to a single baby pregnancy but having two placentas has been linked to more severe cases due to double the production of hormones like HCG. Stress levels can also cause increased morning sickness in women carrying multiples as well as inadequate nutrition prior to conception or during early conception stages.
It is important for any woman expecting multiples to closely monitor their diet and pay attention for signs or symptoms that may indicate a more severe case of morning sickness such as relentless vomiting or severe dehydration which would require medical attention.
How to Manage Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a common and normal part of pregnancy, but it can be severe for some women. For mothers expecting twins, the symptoms of morning sickness may start earlier than those who are expecting just one baby. Symptoms typically begin around the 6th week of pregnancy, but can start as early as 4 weeks. The most common signs and symptoms of morning sickness include: feeling queasy, nausea, vomiting, food cravings that come and go suddenly, sensitivity to odors or certain smells and fatigue.
Although there is no single solution that works for all pregnant women who experience morning sickness with twin pregnancies, there are some measures that you can take to help reduce your symptoms. It’s important to remember that managing morning sickness requires patience and understanding each individual situation.
Some suggested strategies include:
- Continuing to eat small meals throughout the day while reducing greasy or fatty foods.
- Avoiding strong odors or smells.
- Getting plenty of rest.
- Staying hydrated with fluids such as water or ginger tea.
- Utilizing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
- Taking prenatal vitamins at night before bed or at least an hour after eating.
- Exercising regularly.
- Consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables.
- Limiting caffeine intake if possible.
- Avoiding spicy or acidic foods if necessary, and
- Discussing additional medications with your healthcare provider if the symptoms do not improve with self-care measures.
Although it’s not always easy to deal with morning sickness in twin pregnancies due to the double dose of hormones causing many changes in your body, knowing how to manage your symptoms appropriately can make a difference in getting through this stage in your pregnancy journey successfully and safely for both you and your babies.
For many women, morning sickness with twins may start earlier in the pregnancy than it would with a singleton baby. This can happen as early as the second month, but symptoms may also begin later in the pregnancy. Regardless of when morning sickness begins, it can be very severe and debilitating for expectant mothers carrying twins.
Therefore pregnant women who are expecting multiples should discuss appropriate symptomatic relief options with their health care provider if needed. In addition to consulting a health care provider on ways to manage morning sickness symptoms, some expectant mothers with multiples find relief in:
- Making dietary changes
- Taking ginger tea or other natural supplements that have been suggested to help alleviate nausea during pregnancy.