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Pregnancy is always life-changing, but there is something extra special about carrying twins. The moment you see those two little lives on the ultrasound monitor, everything gets doubly exciting.

The news of a twin pregnancy changes the way in which you will be managing your prenatal care, and it also changes your prenatal exercise regime. Actually, can you exercise at all when you are expecting twins? 

Exercise during your first and second trimesters

You may well discover that you are expecting twins at your routine 10 or 12 week scan. Until that point, your lifestyle may have been very similar to what it was before you got pregnant, but when you find out you're having twins everything changes. Can you still exercise? That depends. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommends that women who are pregnant with twins refrain from aerobic exercises, because twin pregnancies are considered to be high-risk.

You may do gentle exercises if your doctor tells you it is safe, but discuss the type of exercises that are suitable for you with your OBGYN in detail. Beware don't engage in workouts that place pressure on your cervix, raises your body temperature too much, or puts you at risk of falling. Walking is normally deemed to be one of the safest possible prenatal exercises, but that may not be so when you are expecting twins because of the constant pressure on your cervix could could contractions and even premature labor. Swimming, prenatal yoga, and stretching exercises are the best gentle exercises for expectant twin mothers.

Even so, never start exercising without consulting your OBGYN in advance. Keep on having these discussions as your pregnancy progresses.

When should you stop doing prenatal exercises?

Twin moms who received their doctor's green light to do light exercises should follow the old advice to "listen to their body" just like all other pregnant women, and even more strongly. Does something feel uncomfortable? Painful? Do you feel pressure on your cervix? Are you experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions the moment you start your exercises? Do you feel dizzy?

In other words, stop working out (not the right word for twin pregnancies anyway, really) the second you feel something is off. If, however, you are doing well with exercise and you and your doctor agree that you can continue, don't fret too much unless you get a clear sign that something isn't OK. Finding a balance is hard, but the exercises you do are meant to help you relax, not to make you more stressed than you already were.

Other ways of keeping healthy during a twin pregnancy

According to one survey, 70 percent of twin moms end up on some form of bed rest. This ranges from "mandated" daily naps to full hospitalization, depending on the health condition of the mother and her babies. You cannot follow a recipe to avoid the need for bed rest, but you can take steps to be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. Eating a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, refraining from heavy lifting, and getting plenty of fresh air are all things that will help you stay healthy and feel good. Still, prepare for the possibility that you will have to go on bed rest.

Many mothers who went through periods of bed rest during their pregnancy due to twins or for some other reason describe an uncomfortable mix between being worried about their babies and suffering from immense boredom. Bed rest may be recommended suddenly, from one day to the next. Since such a large percentage of twin moms end up on bed rest, it can't hurt to prepare. How? Great books, movies, old episodes of your favorite TV show... friends coming round, a nice cleaning lady, or perhaps your mom... the more physical help and company you have, the more likely you are to feel about any period of bed rest. And don't worry if you really miss your exercise routine once your pregnancy is over, you will quickly be able to start working out again. In fact, weight loss after pregnancy is a tough experience for many moms. Lots of exercise is one of the best ways in which you can achieve it.

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