Though it can be exciting to find out that you are having twins (or triplets, or quadruplets), it is not unusual for the news to knock you for six. It can be a bit overwhelming to know how and where to start preparing.
Carrying more than one baby immediately puts your pregnancy into a higher risk category, which turns up the dial on fear and anxiety. Preparing for the complications known to be associated with multiple births is a great way to reduce any anxiety and feel in control.
If everything goes smoothly… that’s great! If it doesn’t…. you’ve got a plan!
Here are some things you should consider and prepare for, because life is about to get pretty hectic.
- Prepare for them to arrive early: Twins are more likely to be born early compared to single babies. Most doctors will aim for twins to be born around 37-38 weeks into the pregnancy to reduce the risk of a stillbirth. If problems develop, your babies may be delivered earlier, around 5% of twins are born before 28 weeks compared to x% of singletons. (read our blog post on special care babies)
- Prepare for a C-section: If you are having twins you are twice as likely to have a C-section compared to a single birth. This may mean that after delivery you will be restricted in the type of housework and errands you can do. We advise that you and your partner discuss how you will meet these needs as you recover from the birth. (Shameless plug: You could consider a Helper Bee 🙂 )
- Prepare your friends: Life is going to get pretty crazy, with little time to ask around for the help you need. Before the babies arrive make sure you have:
- Already identified and vetted potential babysitters among your friends – get them to commit to dates and DO NOT FALL INTO THE HOSTESS TRAP! They are there to help
- Cooked and frozen some meals (absolute lifesaver)
- Sampled and selected the local takeaways with your favourite dishes.
- Discussed how you are going to keep your relationship alive and healthy among all the chaos. You may choose to schedule a date night, ban baby talk between certain hours and allow each other protected time to “wind down and recharge”
- Prepare your network: You will want to know some other mothers of twins or triplets who can relate to what you are going through. Register with the Multiple Births Foundation, TAMBA (Twin and Multiple Births Association) or a service that run prenatal courses for twin families. You can ask your GP or midwife about any other local services for families with twins and triplets. Buying two of everything can be expensive so these groups may also help out with equipment loans and childcare recommendations.
- Prepare a thick skin: Twins always garner a lot of attention, but even well-wishers can sometimes make insensitive comments (“Oooh Double Trouble”) or ask intrusive questions (“Were they conceived by IVF?”). Instead of succumbing to rage fuelled by the sleep deprivation monster, plan your answers beforehand so you can easily respond and just move on like a queen!