Eight Things to Consider During a Twin Pregnancy
One sentiment I often hear from other moms before or after their first ultrasound is, “Oh my gosh! What if I’m having twins?” I have twins myself, so I’m not sure if I hear this regularly because they want my opinion on what it would be like, or if there is some fear surrounding having twins in general. I tend to think it is the latter, as the media today has sometimes portrayed a twin pregnancy as something to be feared or dramatized.
Twin pregnancies are inherently different from a singleton pregnancy because you’re having two babies instead of one. Beyond that things may not always be as extreme as the media will lead you to believe. On the other hand, things may be very different for you. I believe that tuning into your own personal journey with your babies is your biggest ally, no matter what happens.
With that being said, here are eight things you might want to take time to think about and consider during your twin pregnancy.
- More prenatal appointments and ultrasounds — Twin pregnancies are usually monitored a bit more closely than singleton pregnancies, so plan on having more prenatal appointments. Take some time in advance to talk to your care providers about how many ultrasounds they will be suggesting. Some moms prefer to limit ultrasounds, so consider your preference at the beginning.
- Find a provider who has experience with twin births — Not all care providers have extensive experience with twins. Ask your provider what their rate of vaginal versus c-section births are when delivering twins. Find out what their standard of care is for delivering the second twin — will they feel confident in delivering one baby in the breech position, or will they only deliver vaginally if both twins begin and stay head down during birth? Keep in mind that you have options here. If you do not agree with what you are hearing, then don’t be afraid to consider switching providers.
- Consider and advocate for your birth plan — Take some time at the beginning of your pregnancy to consider what you believe to be best for you and your babies during birth. Through my own experience and listening to the stories of other twin moms, I sometimes hear that twin moms can be nudged into a birth plan that may not match their wants. A lot of twin moms may not even realize that their wants for birth are important too! Remember that you have options, but it may take more vocalization than what a singleton mom would need. Going through these questions with your partner and provider will get the thought process and discussion going. Click here to find a BIRTHFIT Leader in your area that may be hosting an in-person Prenatal Series to get more in-depth with your birth plan. Keep in mind that a twin pregnancy is typically considered full term at 38 weeks. Again, if you’re not feeling supported it may be a good idea to switch providers.
- Breastfeeding plan — If breastfeeding is something that you plan on doing, then consider taking a breastfeeding course in advance. This can be helpful for any mom, but being able to learn twin-specific positions and practice them in advance can make a difference. Typically, the course will include information on items you may choose to use, and if so, you will want them in advance (i.e., nursing pillows, pumps, bottles, etc.). I would suggest contacting a lactation consultant during pregnancy that offers postpartum home visits. Creating a connection with someone before the birth of your twins will make things much easier should any issues arise in the postpartum period. Leaving the house with any newborn, but especially twins, can be a challenge for some moms. A lactation consultant who will come to your home will make life easier.
- Prenatal fitness may look very different — Or it may not. Have a plan and listen to your body rather than comparing yourself to other moms. You may feel more tired than a singleton mom in regards to fitness, but that is not a given. Focus on how you’re actually feeling instead of thinking about twin pregnancy stereotypes. Your pregnancy is unique to you and your babies. However, it is likely that your belly will grow more quickly than a singleton mom, so learning how to identify diastasis recti and how to modify your fitness with safe core movements will be key. Working with a BIRTHFIT Leader in person is a great option to get the personalized attention and support that you need. Click here to find one in your area. The online BIRTHFIT Prenatal Program and our Small Group Coaching Sessions are other great options that will take you through safe programming from early pregnancy all the way to birth.
- Postpartum body of a twin mom may take longer to heal — Remember that your uterus, and core in general, is most likely going to be stretched much larger than a singleton mom. Think about your plan to return to fitness. Again, focusing on your core will be key as you move through the postpartum timeline. Taking in-person classes with your local BIRTHFIT Leader can be a huge support for you mentally and physically. Following the online BIRTHFIT Basics: Postpartum program is another option if there is not a Leader close to you, or if staying at home is easier for you in the early postpartum period. Remember to not compare yourself to others in your postpartum journey and instead focus on your own uniqueness.
- Prepare for the questions — Many people are intrigued by the thought of having twins and some will not be able to contain their questions or comments. This may not bother you, but for some moms, it can be uncomfortable. Preparing in advance for how you would like to respond to questions you do not want to answer can be helpful. Some questions that people might ask will look like this: Did you know you were having twins? Are they natural twins or did you do fertility treatments? Do twins run in your family? Are they identical or fraternal (and how this relates to being boys or girls)? After your children are born, it is common for people to ask who was born first. Is this something you want to share with other people?
- Think about your twin parenting philosophy — Many parents consider their parenting philosophy in advance, but addressing typical twin stereotypes adds another layer to the process. For example, will you dress your children alike? If so, will you stop at a certain age or milestone? Consider how this may or may not impact them as they grow older or how you would feel in their position. If they are not wearing matching clothes will they still share a wardrobe? Will you purchase two of everything or will they be expected to take turns with one item (i.e., toys, stuffed animals)? What is your plan for birthdays? Will they share the special day or will they have their own parties? If they attend daycare or school outside of the home, will you advocate for them to be in the same classroom or different classrooms? Will you address your children as “twins” or “siblings?” Will you be considering their own opinions when they vocalize preferences? Taking some time to discuss your family values with your partner in advance of the birth of your twins will make answering these questions much easier.
Having twins may add another layer of considerations to your pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean it will be a negative or fearful experience. The point is that you have no idea what the experience will be like until you go through it yourself. Focusing on the unique journey of you and your babies will help you remain in an open mindset for what has the potential to be the most magical experience of your life!
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