My own story…
When I got pregnant, I decided to get certified in pre- and post-natal fitness training. Much to my surprise, shortly before the start of the class, I found out that I was pregnant with twins.
While trying to conceive, a respected reproductive endocrinologist told me that owing to my “advanced maternal age” (then 36) and my BMI, that I should consider IVF — and that I should also be willing to consider an egg donor and a gestational surrogate. He doubted my ability not only to conceive, but also to carry a healthy pregnancy to term — given only my age and size.
While I could understand that statistics would improve dramatically if I purchased someone else’s eggs and hired someone else to carry my pregnancy, I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t conceive on my own AND carry to term. Shortly after he told me that, I got pregnant on a natural cycle — so you can imagine my surprise when I found out I was carrying twins!
So, it was with a great amount of “twinshock” that I started learning not only how to train other pregnant women, but also myself, given the additional risks and issues and uncertainties in a twin pregnancy.
Some statistics on twins pregnancies: the average gestation for twins is 36 weeks. Only 13% go to 40 weeks. The average birth weight of twins is 5lbs5oz each.
I wrote my own training program, being pretty conservative: I swam 2-3 days/week and did water aerobics 2-3 days/week. I also walked on flat surfaces and stopped running stairs. All of this with the blessing of my ob.
I was determined to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. I consulted with Dr. Barbara Luke, a specialist in multiple pregnancies. Much to my surprise, she told me that being heavier than average (and also taller than average — I’m 5’6.5″) were in our favor for a longer-term pregnancy.
I was closely monitored for my own health and the health of the babies. I had more ultrasounds than I can remember; and several NSTs (Non-stress-tests). My urine was regularly checked for signs of protein. I was regularly checked for signs of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. I had an incredibly healthy pregnancy — no signs of ill health for me or the babies. When I showed up to my 36-week appointment, my doctor’s nurse said she had started checking the hospital records to see if I’d been admitted. And every week after that, the staff was surprised that I showed up for my appointments — still pregnant (VERY pregnant).
At 37 weeks we started talking about induction. I agreed that if I hadn’t gone into labor naturally by 40 weeks, that I’d consent to induction. At 38 weeks, I started acupuncture for induction and started running (or waddling) up and down 10-20 flights of stairs a day to try to bring labor on naturally. My 40-week due date was September 25, 2007. I agreed that at 7:30am on that day that I’d call to go on the induction list.
At 4am on September 25th, my water broke. I took a quick shower, knowing it would be a L O N G time before I could shower again, and we went to the hospital.
At 9:13 and 9:17 September 26, 2007, I gave birth to Simon Edward and Michaela Renee Snyder-Braasch, weighing in at 6lbs5oz and 5lbs5oz respectively. I was able to avoid a surgical delivery (over half of all twin deliveries are surgical), owing in no small part to being and staying fit during my pregnancy.
And now I am thrilled to work with pregnant women of all sizes as we work toward healthy pregnancies.