You're Expecting Twins - Now What?

What to Expect When you are Expecting Twins

It is probably safe to say that nothing can prepare you for the experience of hearing an ultrasound technician gleefully announce that you are carrying more than one baby - particularly if the prospect was not anticipated!

From that amazing, terrifying, wonderful moment, be prepared for your life to completely change. Whether or not you already have children, you simply cannot anticipate what it will be like to introduce a pair of them at the same time. This article will give you a few tips on what to expect, and how to prepare so that the new additions will not completely break the bank, even if they feel like they break your back!

The Pregnancy. A multiple pregnancy is automatically considered "high risk," even if it was naturally conceived, that is, without medical intervention. Be prepared for the potential of additional doctor visits and ultrasounds, depending on your age and overall health. The risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-term delivery is also increased. Your doctor will monitor you more closely in this regard. There are plenty of good books on multiple pregnancies, particularly if you end up in the unenviable position of having to go on bed rest. One very important thing to keep in mind is that most multiple pregnancies do not last for an entire 40 weeks. Full-term is generally considered 36-37 weeks for twins.

Your body. Prepare to be amazed. You may think... its only two, or that they typically are smaller than average babies. But I can tell you from experience that some kind soul asked if I was having triplets, with more than a month to go before delivery! If you have maternity clothes from a prior pregnancy, you'll probably have to shop again in larger sizes.

In the meantime, rest assured that at some point in your life, you may be able look like you did before. Just make sure that you get there in a healthy manner, and not by cutting off your breath by multiple layers of spandex!

Fraternal twins at 6 months of age
Fraternal twins at 6 months of age | Source

Twin Pregnancy Video

Ultrasound of twins at approximately 14 weeks gestation
Ultrasound of twins at approximately 14 weeks gestation
 

Your partner. Is he mini-van adverse? Well, he may have to get over it. How else are you going to easily transport two tiny babies, if you don't have the right kind of wheels? Time to convert the shop in the basement into an extra nursery? That could be threatening, if space is already tight where you live. Some partners will gladly welcome the 2-for-1 circumstance, while others will balk at the sudden and overwhelming changes in their lives. After all, your rapidly changing waistline is not the only thing about which he'll wonder about the point of no return. An expanding family is one area that will literally separate the boys from the men. Talk to your friends or family for additional support, if necessary. There are several on-line support groups, as well. I recommend iVillage.com.

Your finances. Gulp! You knew I had to get there, didn't you? What about child care? If you have to work after delivering the babies, how will you afford it? And what if you currently drive a compact car? These are some serious questions that have to be addressed pretty darn quick before you get to week 30 of the pregnancy. Some day care providers allow for second child discounts and/or early pay discounts if you pay by a certain date. There are many resources available on the internet, such as Craig's list or the like where you may be able to find quality childcare if you start early enough and are patient. Similar observations are made with respect to vehicles, which can be found through eBay or Craig's list, without having to pay dealer invoices.

The necessities. I will tell you right now that the most important things you need when you arrive home are: two infant car seats, a good supply of infant diapers and wipes, 4-6 swaddling blankets, 4-6 undershirts, 4-6 onesies, and a place for each of the babies to sleep. You may wish to include a few caps on this list, but the hospital will send one home with you for each of the babies. If you are not going to breastfeed, you should also include bottles and formula on this list. Other items, such as highchairs and toys, can wait.

  • I highly recommend that you purchase new car seats because the safety features may be lost or broken otherwise on second-hand models. Local police and/or fire stations will often assist with installation to make sure that it is done correctly. Always, always, always in the back seat!!
  • With regard to sleeping arrangements, I do recommend that each has their own bassinet or crib, preferably in their own space, if possible. Our twins could never sleep in the same room without rousing the other one from sleep. While tempting, you should not sleep with your twins, due to the risk of SIDS. Babies should always be put to sleep on their backs, with soft blankets and stuffed animals out of their cribs and away from their faces.
  • If you are going to bottle feed or supplement your babies, you should definitely check with your doctor and pediatrician about free formula supplies. We were given a case of Enfamil for our twins - much more than the single can or two that the manufacturers tend to offer for singleton births.

Getting out and about with your twins. This is a daunting prospect ...Especially if you are going solo. My favorite method to this madness was to place one twin in a front pack, and leave the other (fussier) twin in her car seat, which I snapped onto one of those convertible stroller bases. On occasion, I would meet a family member or friend, and we would use two stroller bases with the car seats. But, in reality, my days outside of the home were numbered until the twins were older and able to hold their heads up. At that point, we invested in one of the many relatively inexpensive double strollers on the market. If you'd rather avoid all this hassle and just buy one of the nice double strollers that are available (trust me, they have come a long way in the five years since my twins were born), check out this article as a good starting place.

Check with your pediatrician. You may find that some of the milestones that the "average" baby will reach come a little later for one or both of your twins. Don't panic. Your pediatrician will tell you if there is true cause for concern. Sitting up, crawling, walking.... sometimes it is a blessing if you don't have both children sending you scrambling in opposite directions. That will come before you know it! Speaking of the pediatrician, I highly recommend that you have a back-up parent or other adult with you at doctor visits. It is a significant understatement to say it is difficult to wriggle two babies in and out of multiple layers of clothing, get them weighed and measured, and you cannot even imagine what a series of shots, times two, is like!

Enjoy their unique personalities! Whether you have identical or fraternal twins, you will soon discover that each baby has their own way of challenging and thrilling you. It sounds like a cliché, but trust me that the first year does go by very quickly. And one day, you will look back on the early days and weeks and sigh. Perhaps you will laugh too! Have fun!

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Comments 18 comments

Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great site, Steph!

Our twins are now 11 years old, and all is well, but that first year or two ... let's just say it's pretty much a blur!

Good quality information here.

I would add one piece of advice I always give to people expecting twins.

Get a 3x5 card, and write on it in LARGE letters "It gets better". Carry it with you at all times!

It really does get better as they get older.

Jenny


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Jenny!! True, True. Some people said, wait until after the first year, but oh man! Then they were walking! I'm saying probably wait until age 4 - at least? Your idea of the 3x5 card is priceless!! Best - Steph


Inspirepub profile image

Inspirepub 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Yes, the second year is hard in a whole different way!

Once they go to school there's not really much difference between having twins and having them a year apart.

I found it easier once they were doing kindergarten a couple of days a week, but once they were at school I felt I had some of my life for myself again.

Jenny


pjdscott profile image

pjdscott 8 years ago from Durham, UK

A fascinating hub! I know a couple of sets of twins - one set is idendical and the other completely different (in fact, if you didn't know they were twins, you might be forgiven for thinking the mum had been with two men! I hope you get lots of enjoyment and fulfilment from your children.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks pdjscott. That is quite funny about the fraternal twins. My set of twins still look pretty similar, even though they are boy and girl, but as they get older people don't realize as often that they are twins because of personality differences.


kerryg profile image

kerryg 8 years ago from USA

Very interesting. Twins run in my mom's family. I'm hoping they'll skip me, but you never know.

I hope the babies in that video turned out okay. Premature babies are always so sad. I remember how tiny and fragile my daughter seemed, and she was 9 pounds even, and 22 inches!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Kerryg, You never know if they'll skip a generation or not. The last twins born in my family were my great-grandmother and her fraternal twin. No others for 4 generations.... Babies are so helpless when they are born. The size doesn't seem to matter much. I had a 9 pounder, a 10 pounder and my twins were close to 7 pounds and close to 9 pounds, respectively (yes, they went full term!)


Camille 7 years ago

I am pregnant with twins now. I am 21 weeks and now really looking forward to them.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Congratulations Camille! Wishing you and your family the best - enjoy your twins!


lafenty profile image

lafenty 7 years ago from California

I have twin granddaughters that are now almost five. The father was in and out of the picture, so they lived with me for the first year or so. It was an experience. I remember that we spent most of the first 6 weeks camped out on the couch, each changing, dressing, feeding or comforting a baby pretty much around the clock. Wouldn't change it though, they are precious.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

They are such a blessing, as well as lots of work! Mine are just home from kindergarten now. They grow up fast!


hillary 7 years ago

I really appreciate all the good advice in this article--thanks! I'm currently 16 wks pregnant with frat. twins boy and girl and am terribly excited and nervous. I have a 3 year old son as well and am so worried that he'll get put on the back burner when the babies get here. I remember how much work one was, but now I'll have 3 all under the age of 4--whew! Needless to say, I'm a bit daunted. I'm sure it'll all even itself out, though, and we'll be laughing and loving like crazy soon enough.


pakpub profile image

pakpub 6 years ago from Ohio

My twins are 19 (boy,girl) and I miss the younger years. It was fun. I enjoyed your hub.


John Sanford 6 years ago

Twins are a nice blessing and often a surprise. I can only imagine the joy of having two twins to love and cherish.


mjwilliamson profile image

mjwilliamson 6 years ago from Right Here

This is a great hub!! I wish I had been able to read this when I was pregnant with my twins. I was sadly overwhelmed once they were born...in several areas of life. My oldest was 18 mos. when my twins were born. Many days I felt like I was caring for triplets.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Wow mj - I'm sure that must have been tough! My sister has babies that are 17 months apart and in some ways it seems more difficult than twins! Best to you and your family - Steph


Jackie 6 years ago

GREAT HUB! Thank you! One of my necessities was a twin high chair! I got ours at http://www.stuff4multiples.com. It's one of the only twin stores out there with a baby registry!!


lisa 6 years ago

Wow! Such a great site. Thanks for all your ideas and suggestions. It was a great help!

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