Having one child is scary enough, but when you find out you’re having twins, it takes it to a whole new level. Expecting one baby and getting two requires a massive psychological shift and a lot of extra preparation.
Fortunately, a lot of mothers have been in your position. They go into pregnancy, believing that just one baby is on the way. Then, a few weeks in, they discover that they are responsible for two new human beings, and it changes everything.
For some mothers, the idea of having twins is exciting. It means getting their family ambitions out of the way in a single stroke and introducing two new beautiful babies to the world. For others, it’s a little unnerving, especially for first-time mothers. Looking after one child is a challenge. But taking care of two is a massive task.
Researchers have identified several trends associated with having twins. In general, it tends to be more common in older mothers in their thirties and forties. At this age, the ovaries are more likely to release more than one egg, increasing the likelihood of double fertilization.
It is also more likely to occur in people who are twins themselves or have a history of twins in their family. Interestingly, only non-identical twins run in families. Identical ones don’t because that involves the chance separation of a single egg into two distinct people.
Twins are also much more likely if you’ve had IVF fertility treatment. When doctors do IVF, they typically attempt to fertilize many eggs, hoping that one will eventually grow into a child. Sometimes, though, they do the job too well, and you wind up with twins or even triplets.
Finally, women who have twins really do have bigger bumps to contend with. For a few months, you might have a backache.
There are several ways that you can prepare for the arrival of twins. Here’s what to do.
Take A Deep Breath
First thing’s first: take a deep breath. It’s okay to be a little shocked after the doctor delivers the news that you’re going to be having two babies instead of one. Remember, you don’t have to process all of the emotions at once. In fact, it is probably best if you don’t. If possible, try to sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning. Once your brain has had time to process events, you’ll feel in a stronger position to take on the new responsibility.
If you’re planning on having a baby, you’ve probably already learned a lot about how to parent effectively. Raising twins, however, involves practical issues you don’t experience if you’re raising one baby at a time. For instance, how do you organize feeding and bedding?
Blogs should be your first port of call. Here you can get twin nursery ideas, tips, and tricks and learn all there is to know about caring for two babies at once. Remember, there are a lot of mothers out there who have already been through what you’re going through and can show you the ropes, so you don’t make the same mistakes as they did. It turns out, for instance, that you don’t actually need to buy two of everything – just the essentials.
Separate The Cribs
As newborns, your babies won’t be particularly adventurous. As they grow older, however, they’ll start wanting to climb out of their cribs and into that of the other twin. Many experienced parents, therefore, recommend that you separate the two cribs. Either put them on opposite sides of the room or put your children in separate bedrooms if you have space.
Spruce Up Your Diet
When you’re pregnant with twins, you’re not just eating for two – you’re eating for three!
Professionals, therefore, recommend that you eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, full of vitamins and minerals. You’ll need to ensure that you get an adequate intake of iodine, folate, calcium, and iron to help your children grow big and strong.
Consider Your Birthing Options
Single babies are usually born around forty weeks into pregnancy. Twins, however, typically arrive slightly earlier, generally between 37 and 38 weeks. Your children, therefore, will come sooner than a standard pregnancy.
You’ll want to consider your birthing options with your midwife. You can absolutely have a natural birth when having twins, but undergoing a Cesarean may be better in some cases. Remember, Cesareans are twice as likely when having twins than with a single baby.
Having twins can be a worry, but it is also a lot of fun.