If you’ve recently found out you’re having twins, you’re probably feeling a lot of things right now, and not all of them are necessarily good. It’s totally okay if your excitement about having twins is mixed with nerves, dread and even terror about how you’ll manage life as a mum of twins.
The truth is, there IS a lot to feel excited about when you’re having twins. Twins are amazing, and as a twin mum, you’re going to be privy to the world of multiples that most people know nothing about. On the other hand, there are a lot of challenges that come with carrying, birthing and raising twin babies. Remember, it’s okay if you feel less than excited about those things.
Here are seven common worries that women with twin pregnancies have (and how you can get a handle on them):
Worry #1: How big will I get during pregnancy?
It can feel very daunting to imagine two babies growing inside you. You might even be wondering how on earth they’ll fit, as they grow to full term size, especially if you have a small build. Generally speaking, twin pregnancies appear full-term by about 28-30 weeks, but it’s not uncommon for twins to arrive anywhere between 33-37 weeks, so you may not have to worry about how you’ll cope at 40 weeks. Your caregivers will keep a close watch on you and discuss early delivery with you as necessary.
Read more about parenting twins:
- 11 things only parents of twin babies understand
- Magical multiples: 11 facts about twins that will surprise you
- My twins are two people! Please don’t treat them like they’re one and the same
Worry #2: What about twin pregnancy complications?
While most twin pregnancies result in healthy babies, some extra complications can arise because of the nature of the pregnancy. Premature labour, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia are more likely to occur in twin pregnancies, as well as the potentially serious condition, placental abruption. Twin babies can also be affected by fetal growth restriction and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome; the latter is a condition where one twin receives more blood supply than the other. Because your pregnancy will receive extra medical attention, early detection and treatment can assist with these conditions if they’re picked up. A healthy diet and taking good care of yourself can also go a long way in keeping your twin pregnancy healthy.
Worry #3: How will I birth two babies?
Many twins are born vaginally, particularly if your first twin is in a head down position. Make sure you do a birthing class that caters for twin pregnancies so you can get tailored responses to your questions. A caesarean section could be recommended if your first baby is in a breech position; if you’ve had any complications during your twin pregnancy; or if you have previously had a difficult birth with a single baby. You can choose to have a caesarean section from the outset of your pregnancy if that’s your preference.
Worry #4: How will I care for two babies?
Babies on their own are challenging enough to manage but with twins, you will be expected to take care of two children at once, and this only gets tougher as they grow into wriggling, crawling babies who think it’s hilarious to run away while you’re changing nappies. Putting them on a similar routine will mean doing feeds, naps and nappy changes for both babies at the same time, which helps. Many twin mums swear by getting their babies on a solid routine right from word go so everyone gets used to the same sequence of events early on. Make sure you have help at home in the first few weeks while you find your rhythm.
Worry #5: How will I feed two babies?
Tandem feeding your babies may seem awkward at first but once you get going, it’s fairly straightforward – and so much easier than feeding one baby at a time. You might be told that your milk supply won’t be enough for two babies, but don’t be put off if you want to breastfeed your twins. Your body will still respond to the demands of both bubs, and your caregivers can keep an eye on their weight gain to reassure you along the way. Breastfeeding overnight is hard work, so tandem feeding, i.e. waking up both babies for the feed rather than letting one sleep through it (and waking an hour later), will make life easier.
Worry #6: How will I soothe two crying babies?
Your twin babies will cry like any other newborn. They will depend on you for soothing, which might be overwhelming at first, but this is when you realise how great having two arms is. You’ll get the hang of scooping up one baby in each arm and holding them against your chest while you pace the floor, just like any other mum with one baby would. Using a swing or some other safe device (with a harness) that vibrates, rocks or keeps one of your babies soothed while you sort out the other unhappy one can be another way to settle them. Settling two unhappy babies is also when tandem feeding comes into its own: setting yourself up on the couch and whipping both boobs out will quickly quieten two fractious babies.
Worry #7: How will I get out and about with two babies?
Getting out with two babies can be a huge ordeal at first, so don’t put any pressure on yourself to do this if you’re not ready. Some mums prefer to wait until they’re settled with feeds and have got to know their babies before venturing out. When you do get out, keep your journey short and sweet at first, say, a walk around the block or up to the shops. Try to get out right after a feed as it can be quite stressful trying to feed two babies in public (parents rooms aren’t usually set up for tandem feeds) and if you feed one at a time you’ll need to keep the other one happy until it’s his turn.
Being a twin mum is exhausting and relentless but incredibly rewarding. Accept any help you’re offered, enjoy those admiring smiles when you’re out in public and take it firmly on the chin when someone calls you a ‘supermum’. And when your babies are old enough to play together, you’ll notice all your hard work really pay off, as each will have a built-in playmate and best friend who they’ll be forever bonded with. Thanks to you.