Mom of twins gives advice for women expecting multiples.
Congratulations on expecting multiples! Based on my experience as the mom of twins, I have a list of nine tips to help your pregnancy be the best it can be.
1. Make health a priority.
This is No. 1 for a reason. Getting enough protein and drinking enough water every day are musts. Multiple pregnancies can require more than 150 grams of protein per day. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but a small chicken breast has 30 grams, so it’s actually easier than you might think. You and the babies you are growing need it.
Water is also important. I kept a big water bottle at my side at all times. Other important things to be aware of include daily folic acid, and lots of calcium and iron. A flu shot is also important because you certainly don’t want to get sick. (Editor’s note: Specific nutritional requirements may depend on your pre-pregnancy body mass index, the number of babies you are carrying and other factors, so discuss this with your own obstetrician).
2. Prepare for lots of doctor visits.
Speaking of your doctor: Expect to clear your schedule for doctor visits, especially toward the end. Because of challenges “seeing” both babies during an examination, to monitor discrepancies in growth between the babies and for other reasons, you may have more ultrasounds than you would during pregnancy with just one baby. I have so many ultrasound pictures of the babies, it’s funny! I would get new pictures every week.
3. Find a good research tool – and not Google.
You will want to Google — I get it — but please try to resist. An excellent resource for multiple pregnancies is “When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy” by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein. This is my No. 1 recommended resource for parents of multiples.
4. Weight gain is OK.
Yes, I know – it’s certainly not a topic anyone wants to discuss, but just know you’re going to gain weight. You’re carrying more babies, so greater weight gain is natural. Multiple pregnancies have an average weight gain of 30-40 pounds, versus a singleton pregnancy of 25 pounds. Again, talk to your doctor about specifics for you.
5. Expect more of the unpleasant sides of pregnancy.
If you’ve been pregnant before, just expect more of it. If this is your first pregnancy, expect body aches, pains, heartburn, morning sickness and fatigue. Near the end, my belly felt so big and FULL, I imagined my babies would just fall out at any moment. Of course they didn’t, but it was uncomfortable to sleep, walk and do other basic things.
6. Find support and accept help.
You cannot do it all, especially when pregnant with multiples. It’s OK — and wise — to ask for help. The house cleaning and chores can go on the back burner. When people ask if they can help you, say yes.
Also, connect with a local support group, like POTATO, a national organization of mothers of twins and other multiples. (This is where a quick Google search can come in handy to find groups in your area.) I wouldn’t have made it through my pregnancy, or the first year with my twins, without the support of my local group.
7. Get ready for your babies earlier.
Go ahead and prepare. On average, most singleton pregnancies last about 39 weeks. This decreases the more babies you are carrying: 35 weeks for twins, 32 weeks for triplets and 29 weeks for quads. You never know what might happen, so it’s best to have your nursery ready, stroller and car seats unpacked, and yourself ready to go should the situation arise.
8. Know your risks.
It’s important to be aware of them, but not freak out. Carrying multiples puts you at a higher risk of early delivery, bed rest, occasional spotting, and preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Talk to your doctor about your risks and your concerns.
9. Have a desired birth plan, but be flexible.
If your goal is a vaginal delivery — great! But know that a C-section conversation may come up when carrying multiples. In a perfect world, both babies would be head down and ready to go, but when you have more than one in there, it can be different. Be aware, know your options, talk with your doctor and ask questions. The No. 1 priority is getting your babies out in the safest way possible. Stay flexible and open-minded.
Above all, keep yourself as healthy and as prepared as possible. You will soon join a very special group of parents of multiples. Try to relax, and enjoy it!
This post was written by Mandy Stribling, a Brentwood-based southern gal who loves decorating, fashion, blogging and celebrity gossip. She is a small business owner and a “MOM (Mom of Multiples)” to fantastic boy and girl twins, Josh and Jules. Visit her blog Mandy with Multiples.