Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5 Issue 30, Tuesday, July 27, 2010




Expecting twins

Being pregnant with twins is a blessing from the Almighty. Having children in the house alone is quite a miracle for some people, having two… is pure bliss! But twin pregnancy has it's own issues as opposed to normal pregnancy. Lots of precautionary actions are to be taken and all expecting mothers of twins should be in the know of a lot of facts and points of bearing two children.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions by mothers who are expecting twins and some tips and suggestions to help them through their pregnancy.

Many people ask about what is different about twin pregnancy.

Well, obviously, the main difference between twin pregnancy and normal pregnancy is the presence of two foetuses.

But there's a lot more to it than just that. The experience of a twin pregnancy can vary from woman to woman but it's still very different from normal pregnancy.

Most women who are pregnant with twins experience enhanced pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, or oedema (swelling). While it is not quite accurate to say these symptoms are doubled with twin pregnancy, the increased level of hormones do exacerbate them for most women.

Apart from the usual, there are many more questions that enter your mind like, 'what if I deliver early?', 'how will I tell them apart?', 'will we need another crib, carseat or a new house?', 'how will we afford college times two?'.

It might get frustrating at times. But the trick is to take things slow and conquer one problem at a time. If you can't do it on your own, it's time to consult the experts!

Talk to other parents who have had multiples through the same situation and lived to tell the tale! Talking to other families will help you reassure that living with twins will actually be fun! While your body prepares for the birthing of your children, talking to other mothers and fathers will help you prepare your heart and your home.

A lot of mothers are very conscious about what they should eat during pregnancy, and even more conscious when they are pregnant with two!

We can help you with the ten best things to eat during twin pregnancy!

Raisin bran-

Most breakfast cereals are fortified with Folic acid, a source of vitamin B that can drastically reduce the risk of birth effects when taken during pregnancy. Because it's so important, most pregnant women are advised to take folic acid in the form of supplement or prenatal multivitamins before and during pregnancy. High-fibre cereal will help will help you keep your digestive system functioning properly.


Yoghurt is rich in calcium, necessary for the development of your baby's bones and skeletal structure. It's also a good source of protein. Beware of yoghurt products that are enhanced with sugar and fat.

To get the best nutritional benefits, start with plain lowfat or nonfat yoghurt, and flavour it yourself.

You can add honey or fruit for sweetness, nuts or granola for crunch, and a sprinkle of Brewer's yeast for added protein.


Seafood is delicious and nutritious, but many varieties aren't recommended for pregnant mums due to elevated mercury levels and other chemicals. Shrimp, however, is generally considered safe. They are an excellent source of low fat protein, selenium and Vitamin D.

They're also versatile - easy to prepare and serve in stir-fries, pastas or even on their own with some cocktail sauce. Just don't eat it raw. Save the sushi or ceviche for after the babies are born.


Papaya is not only tasty but also a great choice for pregnant mums of multiples who are boosting their protein intake. The papaya is an amazingly rich source of proteolytic enzymes, which help enable the digestion of protein. It's also an excellent source of Vitamin C.

It's known for it's digestive benefits, and is recommended for alleviating morning sickness!

Be sure to wash papaya -- and all fruits and vegetables -- thoroughly before preparing and serving to avoid bacterial contamination.


Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), a power-packed source of non-animal protein and fibre. They're also high in folic acid and manganese. On their own, they're not that appetising, but when prepared as hummus, they're outstanding!

Enjoy hummus as a dip with veggies, pita bread or whole grain crackers, spread it on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise or use it as a salad topping.


Another high protein food, eggs are also the richest source of choline, a nutrient needed in larger amounts during pregnancy for normal brain function and memory. Eggs promote vision and brain development in foetuses. Plus they are easy to prepare in a variety of ways.

They're not just for breakfast either! Hardboiled eggs are a great snack on their own, or add chopped eggs to salads or sandwiches.

Chicken sandwich

Many deli processed meats are associated with a risk of listeriosis, a bacteria particularly harmful to fetuses. If you're bypassing the deli counter, consider chicken as a sandwich alternative.

It's a low fat source of protein. Grill, poach or broil chicken breasts, then slice thinly for sandwiches. Or chop coarsely for chicken salad. Use whole grain bread and add a dose of veggies to your sandwich, such as thinly sliced cucumber, chopped celery, spinach leaves, or dark green lettuce.


Popeye would be proud! The sailor man who gained great strength by eating spinach would definitely recommend this powerhouse green vegetable for pregnant moms.

Spinach and other dark, leafy greens are loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron. It's also rich in vitamin C, fibre, carotenoids, lutein and bioflavanoids.

While Popeye's mode of choice - canned - is probably not the most flavourful preparation, there are numerous ways to consume it.

Fresh spinach makes a delicious salad. Add the green leaves to your sandwich or sauté it for stir-fries or pastas. Frozen spinach can be baked into casseroles or stirred into soups. Go green for your babies!

With these tips and suggestions, we hope to make your twin pregnancy more enjoyable than it already is!

By Naziba Basher


Two for one!

Expecting the birth of a child is one of the most exciting moments of a woman's life. Of course, it has its ups and downs but at the end of nine months they all know, it was all worth it.

Expecting twins, on the other hand, is twice as exciting but also twice as hard. We have had the opportunity to speak to Shaila Alam who is a university professor waiting to be a mother of two!

You have known other women who have been pregnant with one child. How is being pregnant with two children different?

Honestly, when I think about having two children I think about the economical effects upon us. Of course, we'd have to spend on our children and we've always had savings for our firstborn. When we found out we were having twins we had to take a whole new economic approach.

We have to buy two of everything! And of course, taking our house into consideration, we had enough room for one child. Not that we don't have enough room for two babies now, since I plan on keeping them in my room until they're a little older, but after that we are going to need more room and we might even have to move to a new house.

On other issues, the risk of pregnancy is much higher with twins. The body is more fragile and it's much harder to move around. My hormonal problems are worse than I have seen my friends who were pregnant with one baby go through. So, these are probably the main differences between bearing one child and bearing twins.

Since you are going to be having two babies at the same time, you will need extra help. Are you planning on hiring a nanny for that extra help?

As a matter of fact, no. Since we have a joint family with my in-laws we have more than just one pair of helping hands around the house. My mother in-law is still young and is fit enough to take care of not just one but both of my children.

We've heard a lot of horror stories about nannies nowadays, so I don't think I'd be completely comfortable with someone I'm not so familiar with handling my children. Although, I have friends who have nannies and are perfectly fine with it and nothing bad has ever happened by the grace of Allah.

But you never know what can go wrong and I don't think I'd be able to trust anyone enough to leave my babies with them. Besides, if my family's around, I don't think a nanny would be necessary at all!

How are you feelings as a mother-to-be of two babies?

Well, it can get tough at times and I won't lie about not being depressed. I have been depressed every now and then because of the severe pain I would go through. But at the same time, I can't wait to get a look at my babies. I'm very excited about it all!

How much support are you getting from people around you?

Of course, there have been people who have told me off saying, “Oh, you're carrying two babies? No big deal! It's the same as one!”. But it's not, it's much harder.

My family and friends understand that well and help around a lot. I was always lazy and being pregnant with two babies has gotten me lazier so I tend to just lie around but everyone understands and helps around very much.

My doctor, especially, has been a big help to me. He gives me a lot of mental support, explains things to me and tells me how to make myself feel better. He cracks jokes every now and then to lighten me up and is generally an amazing person. I'm very glad my husband and I chose him as our doctor!

Speaking of your husband, how are his feelings about having twins?

My husband is also very supportive. Since I've been pregnant I've even become clumsy so I pretty much bug him to pick things up for me half the time! But he's just as excited.

Men in my husband's family have always been amazing with children and always helped out with raising them. My husband's family is very big so they had a lot of children around. My husband loves children and is extremely excited about having two of his own!

When did you find out you were having twins and how long did it take you and your husband to grasp the situation?

I don't distinctly remember when it was but I remember looking at the screen in utter shock during an ultra-sound when I saw two blobs instead of just one! My husband and I came out of the doctors office, looked at each other in silence and said, 'so... we're having twins!'.

It took us quite a while to completely understand what we were headed for but the first time we felt the gravity of the situation was when we heard both of the babies' heartbeats. It was a completely different feeling!

When do you plan on working again after your children are born?

Taking care of two children is much harder than one, so I'll probably need quite some time off to spend with my babies. I have told the university that I'll start working again on the first of January, but even after that I intend to spend more of my time being a mum than a professor.

If I can work part-time, that would be perfect. If not, I don't mind being a full-time mum. I will be there for my children when I think they need me! Besides, I'll have two adorable babies... I don't think I'll ever be bored! Especially, if they get my sense of humour!

What are you expecting? Boys or girls?

Well, since they're non-identical twins there are higher chances of the two being of opposite genders and that is EXACTLY what I'd love! Not that if I have two boys, I'd be upset. I'd love them just as much, but I would love having a daughter! Maybe it's because I would want her to do all the things I couldn't as a child but I'd also love having a boy around! Maybe they're both boys since they have been kicking a lot lately, or maybe it's just the FIFA madness!

Lastly, will you miss your time of pregnancy once you have delivered your babies?

Very, very honestly, not exactly! I mean, I would love having more children. But maybe one at a time. I wouldn't want to carry twins again. Of course, I feel extremely blessed to be pregnant with two children where there are lots of women who can't conceive easily.

I thank God all the time for blessing me with two babies and thank Him that I have gone through these eight months of pregnancy with no complications whatsoever. But as exciting as it is, there's a lot to go through. I don't think I'll be able to handle this for a second time. But I wouldn't mind getting pregnant again, but this time... with one child!

Shaila Alam expects her bundles of joy in her arms by the first week of Ramadhan!

By Naziba Basher




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