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Saturday, 2 April 2011

5 Top Twin Pregnancy and Birth Tips and Truths

Finding out I was expecting twins was to put it mildly a bit of a shock.  I had previously had an early miscarriage and when the ultrasound technician seemed to be taking an age to speak at my dating scan I had started to expect the worst.

My initial reaction was to burst into tears as I think that straightaway I had my first inkling that it might not be a walk in the park, my hubbie to be laughed (somewhat hysterically, now I think about it!).

If you are a first time parent to be or have recently given birth to twins please note that I have subsequently gone on to have another 'little angel' so despite the challenges and the work it can't be all bad can it?!

7 years ago when I found out that I was expecting twins I searched the Internet for information.  At that point there wasn't that much - it is much improved now I have to say.  I am sharing information and tips that I would have liked to have known and these are based on my experience and also those of close friends that I made through our local twins club.  As a result you have the benefit of 5 mums and 10 children - as you can imagine meeting up is always a lively affair!

Some of the tips will be practical but many will focus on the emotional element that is hard to understand unless you have experienced it yourself.

However, please note that I am not medically trained, a health visitor or proclaiming to be an expert.  I am a mum!  I am planning to post tips for the first 6 - 7 years of your parenthood experience (the extent of my experience to date) so please keep checking my blog if you find it helpful.

5 Top Twin Pregnancy Tips and Truths

1.  Don’t worry if you feel scared or overwhelmed at the news that you are expecting twins (rather than overjoyed) - this is quite natural.  After all the image you had of rocking your darling newborn baby in your arms has just been eradicated and replaced by 2 crying babies and 1 pair of arms (or at least that‘s how I felt!).  However, you can and will manage and will get an enormous amount of joy from them.

2.  You will grow faster than a normal singleton pregnancy - be prepared!  If you go full-term you  may find that you have a limited wardrobe as even maternity clothes may not fit.  I measured 38 weeks pregnant when I was 30 weeks and was the size of a rather large house by the end!  Fortunately, I had my twins in August and I had a very loose sun dress (not maternity) that I lived in.

Also, prepare yourself, strangers will ask when you are due from around 30 weeks…’ll get used to it!

3.  Working and being pregnant with 2 babies can take it’s toll.  Check your rights - as it may work better to be signed off by the doctor and receive sick pay rather than start your maternity leave early.  This way you'll be able to keep your maternity leave until your babies are here, assuming that you are planning to return to work.  As you will notice you get no additional benefits (literally) for having 2 or more babies - we must save employers a fortune by only taking maternity leave and pay once!

4.  I'm sure that you will be aware that twins can arrive early (but not always - I had mine at 39 weeks and 4 days).  It is worth preparing for this in a practical sense by ensuring that your nursery is ready sooner rather than later but it may also be worth visiting your local special care baby unit (SCBU) in advance.  Many of my twin mum friends had some involvement with SCBU and those who had visited beforehand  found their first visit less daunting.

Assuming that you go beyond about 34 weeks (which fingers crossed you will - most of my friends did) you will find that you are plagued by well meaning family ringing/popping round to find out if your new arrivals are on the way.  This can become infuriating as you become bigger, more uncomfortable and desperate yourself to go into labour but remember it is only because they are excited about meeting the new babies.

5.  The books suggest that Mums to be expecting twins can experience more intense pregnancy symptoms than a singleton pregnancy - but again this is not always true so don't worry if this isn't happening to you.  It does not mean that there is a problem with the pregnancy.  I was fortunate and didn’t experience morning sickness but did have tiredness in the early days, slight anaemia and swollen ankles from time to time.

I hope that this information is of use and not repeating what you already know - I guess if it does you will have stopped reading by now.  If you have any questions or feelings that you'd like to share please leave a comment, it would be great to hear from you x

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