For the mum-to-be, carrying multiples promises more challenges than single births. If you have just found out that you are pregnant with twins or maybe even triplets you are probably doubly as excited but doubly as anxious too, and that is perfectly normal.
Multiple births have become far more common and it’s important to remember your experience is more than likely going to be a positive one with the end result being two or more beautiful babies. The more knowledge you have about multiple births the more comfortable you will be when your due date has arrived. It is so important to look after yourself during every pregnancy however; you need a little more TLC during a multiple pregnancy.
Our midwife Sinead has provided some useful tips that will help you during your pregnancy:
- Make sure you have a healthy balanced diet and get plenty of rest whenever you need it
- Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help during your pregnancy
- As it is common for twins and triplets to be born prematurely I would recommend that you have your bag packed from around 26 weeks, you will of course need multiples of everything in there! (take a look at our Hospital bag checklist)
- Have the babies’ room or nursery set up or thought about from early on in pregnancy
- Also consider what prams, buggies and other baby essentials that you would like. There is a large range available so it’s important to choose what suits you best
- Be prepared for your babies to spend time in special care as most multiples pregnancies are born prematurely. Ask for a visit of the Special Care baby unit so you can see the equipment and meet the staff
- Explaining to your other children before the birth of your new babies is a good idea; they can be your little helpers!
- Freezing tasty and nutritious meals can help you eat right throughout your pregnancy – especially on the days that you don’t feel like cooking
- But most of all relax and enjoy your pregnancy!
Be prepared for your babies to spend time in special care as most multiples pregnancies are born prematurely
Multiple Pregnancies are classed as ‘High Risk’ which means you will be monitored more closely and have more visits and scans than a mum with a singleton pregnancy but don’t panic, this is just standard procedure.
Women who are pregnant with twins or triplets will often experience the common pregnancy issues a little sooner, these can include:
- Back pain, due to the size and weight of your bump
- Heart burn will also occur as your growing bump pushes your stomach upwards
- Swollen legs and varicose veins, due to the extra weight from the babies and also more fluid in the body
- As I mentioned, twins and triplets are more likely to be born early, so it’s important to understand your options for birth. It’s unusual for twins and multiples to be delivered after 38 weeks, less than half of all twin pregnancies last beyond 37 weeks, so at least you have a timeframe to work towards and definitely won’t have to worry about going over term!
- It is a good idea to discuss your birthing options with your Doctor or Midwife early in pregnancy; delivery will depend on the position of the babies, the position of the placenta and if there are any complications with the pregnancy or the Babies.
- The signs and symptoms of labour and the process of labour are the same as for a single pregnancy however; the babies will be monitored very closely with an electronic heart monitor. You will also have a drip in place just in case it’s needed later
- It is advisable to have an epidural for a multiple birth, if it’s a case that you need assistance with the delivery or an emergency caesarean section then it is quicker and easier when the mum has pain relief
- More Health care Professionals will be present at the birth, you will have your Midwife possibly two, your Doctor and one Paediatrician for each baby, so don’t panic if you see lots of people in the room
- A lot of mothers think you have to have a caesarean section with twins but as always if the position of the twins allows for a vaginal delivery then this would be the recommended method of delivery.
- You may choose to have an elective caesarean from the outset of your pregnancy, or your doctor may recommend a caesarean section later in the pregnancy as a result of potential complications.
- On very rare occasion you may deliver one twin vaginally and then require a caesarean section to deliver the second twin if the baby becomes distressed. It is good to be prepared for this scenario.
The most important thing is not to worry and to stay as calm as possible throughout the pregnancy and the birth. Trust in your medical team – they will give you and your babies the best possible care.