If you carry twins or more, you must feel double or triple the responsibility. And you must have many questions on your mind; will I have a c-section? Can I breastfeed my babies? How can I care for them postpartum? In this article, I will be answering those questions and more.
When carrying more than one fetus, you need to be prepared physically, and emotionally, and you need to have a proper prenatal education. This is valid even if you are having one baby as well. Preparing for a pregnancy is different depending on the order of this pregnancy, whether it is the first or the second. This will affect your experience and your expectations. I always stress the importance of prenatal education, about everything related to pregnancy and birth, it is as vital as regular prenatal care check-ups.
Having multiples is not much different from having one baby, especially if the mom is prepared emotionally and has the proper prenatal education and awareness.
One of the common mistakes moms of twins fall into is succumbing to social pressure and eating for three, or four if she is having triplets! This popular advice is not healthy, all you need to do is have a healthy diet and follow your doctor’s and dietitian’s nutrition-related advice to avoid any unnecessary weight gain.
Regular prenatal visits are essential while carrying multiples, to avoid any preterm labor and the possibility of having the preemies go into the NICU.
Carrying and having multiples can be different depending on the position of the placenta, whether the twins or triplets are sharing a placenta, or each fetus has a separate one, and depending on its position inside the uterus.
Not all multiple pregnancies end with cesarean birth, this depends on several factors such as:
- The position of the placenta.
- The weight of the babies.
- The mother’s overall health.
- The position of the babies inside the uterus.
- The doctor’s experience and ability in delivering twins vaginally.
It is noteworthy that often twins weigh together as much as one fetus does.
This one is usually a c-section. Many triplets’ pregnancies are the result of fertility treatment, and the decision to have them through a cesarean is to minimize the risks. I also recommend the mother of triplets have the proper prenatal education and awareness, about pregnancy and birth so that her decision is a conscious and educated one. Knowing will give moms the confidence she needs to make the right decision whether to have the babies through surgery, or vaginally if possible. The husband needs to also be supportive of this decision after he too gets the proper education and awareness.
A mom who just had twins or more needs to get the benefits of the golden hour. She needs to have skin-to-skin contact with her babies with the help of the medical staff who will support her in holding them.
- Early breastfeeding
It is very important to breastfeed the twins early after birth, even if it can be a little hard if the mom just had a c-section. You need all the empowerment and support you can get to achieve this very important step in your journey. You can use a breast pump as well to make sure the babies are getting the amazing benefits of colostrum. You can also breastfeed directly, by putting each baby on a breast or by alternating. Breast stimulation is essential to make sure the babies are getting enough breast milk.
- Help and support
You will need a lot of help, and support from your husband, family, and if possible a home helper or a resident nurse.
- The mom’s health
You will need plenty of rest, hydration, and healthy nutrition rich in proteins and other healthy nutrients.
- Balancing care
Sometimes one of the twins is more active than the other. Therefore, you need to balance their care. Breastfeed the active baby first and give him to your husband or whoever is helping you at home, so that you get to focus on breastfeeding the less active baby who might need more time and effort to nurse.
Check out How to create a birth plan