Preeclampsia During the Twin Pregnancy

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - April 25, 2017

Preeclampsia is a serious condition that can affect Mom’s health and your babies during the twin pregnancy. It is a condition that causes extreme high blood pressure in the mother. This, in turn, reduces the blood flow to the placenta and is a dangerous situation for your unborn twins.

Twin Ultrasound

Preeclampsia is also known as toxemia and pregnancy induced hypertension.

Singleton pregnancies only experience preeclampsia in one out of 20 cases. Twin pregnancies are at a higher risk with one in five or more experiencing preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia typically happens during the second half of the twin pregnancy.

Preeclampsia Detection: Know Your Symptoms

Warning signs of preeclampsia include rapid rise in blood pressure, protein in the urine, sudden and disproportionate weight gain, and swelling of the face and hands. At each prenatal visit, your wife’s urine will be tested for protein, and thus preeclampsia.

Call your doctor right away if your wife is experiencing any of these symptoms. Don’t wait for your next prenatal visit!

Preeclampsia Prevention and Treatment

Like Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, the causes of preeclampsia aren’t very well known. Therefore your focus should be on watching for the symptoms and signs of preeclampsia.

4 Critical Mistakes Expectant Twin Parents Make

Some sources (like Dr. Luke’s When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads) indicate that eating food or supplements with Omega-3, Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E will help prevent preeclampsia. However, the important thing is to learn the warning signs (described above) and consult your physician if you suspect problems.

Typical treatments for preeclampsia include bed rest and modification to your wife’s diet (more water, less salt). In extreme cases, your wife may need to be hospitalized.

Preeclampsia is ultimately cured when the babies are born. Unfortunately, this means your babies may be born early if the preeclampsia can not be treated effectively.

(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)

Dad’s Role

Here’s what Dads need to do and think about preeclampsia:

  • Make sure your wife gets regular prenatal visits. Go with her if you can.
  • Watch for the symptoms of preeclampsia like swelling of the hands and face and sudden and rapid weight gain.
  • When in doubt, call your wife’s doctor (or help her do so).
  • If preeclampsia strikes, be ready to help your wife survive bed rest and possibly deal with premature twins.

Keep your eyes open for symptoms and be prepared to help when needed. Early detection and quick treatment will lead to both healthy twins and a healthy mother.

Picture by illjustbmethanx

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

6 thoughts on “Preeclampsia During the Twin Pregnancy”

  1. Other things to watch for include severe headaches and visual disturbances. I ended up hospitalized for a week before they ultimately had to deliver my twins (at 31w 5d) because of preeclampsia, and these were also things the nurses were constantly asking me in addition to the things you mentioned above. The night before I had the babies, I started getting the visual disturbances – I was watching a movie and all of a sudden half the screen went black and I started seeing floaters, so I called the nurse. She took my blood pressure and to this day I don’t know what it was because it was so high she wouldn’t tell me. BP meds didn’t work and just over 24 hours later I had a c-section.

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  2. I’m so thankful my MFM noticed my blood pressure was a little off. It wasn’t by much but she took precautions and sent me for required tests. The day after I found out, my water broke and it was a blessing in disguise. I delivered at 33 weeks.

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  3. My MFM doc caught it because the belly growth of one of my boys hadn’t changed since the week prior’s ultrasound. I was on bed rest at home for one week then hospital bed rest for 4 days before my liver enzymes began to increase significantly and I started seeing the visual disturbances. Was induced and gave birth. However after giving birth I was put on magnesium for 24 hours because the symptoms of pre-eclampsia often worsen 24 hours after delivery. The magnesium is pretty awful and requires you to be bed ridden but you can start pumping.

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