Learning you are having twins is an exciting piece of news, but it can be daunting! It’s important to understand what this will mean for you and your babies, as most of the advice you get may not be given with twins in mind! Here are a few tips of things to expect when you hear that word: twins!
It’s easy to panic a little when hearing you’re having twins, as there will be a lot of new stuff you’ll be told by your midwife and also from your friends and family. If your plan really was for just one child (or for a reasonable time between them), then you may not feel like you’re ready or, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea.
It is perfectly okay and normal to feel like this, and it is important to talk to your partner (if you have one) and friends and family about how you feel – and also so that you can make plans as to how to deal with it all. You can also speak to your midwife and doctor, and there are many resources online regarding multiple births – such as the NHS website.
When you find out you’ll be having twins, you’ll get lots of new information, totally different from what you’ve been told up to this point around solo births. This may be a lot of information at first, but it is really important to take it all on board – if you miss any info, or can’t remember, don’t be afraid to ask again. Write down any questions and ask your midwife, no matter how small or silly you might think those questions are – there really are no silly questions!
It may be recommended that you have a caesarean section (around half of twin births are by caesarean), so your midwife will also talk the options and choices through with you – leaving the final choice up to you, based on their advice. Again, make sure you get all the information so you can feel as confident and comfortable as possible, but also don’t stress if plans change throughout your pregnancy and labour! Your team will need to react to the babies development and will keep you up to date on the best advice for your little ones.
We can give you all the tips in the world, but at the end of the day, each twin birth is different and despite any amount of planning, your birthing team will need to react to whatever happens on the day. Try to prepare for the idea that plans will change, and find ways to keep calm when that happens.
As mentioned, there are naturally higher risks associated with twin births so make sure you are prepared for a longer stay in hospital if necessary – especially if you know you will be having a caesarean.
Pack a larger hospital bag and make sure all the little things – from parking at the hospital, to sorting childcare for any other children you have – is all taken care of and out of your mind for the birth to reduce your stress levels.
Once you’re home, if you’re not offered help, don’t be afraid to ask for it! Charities such as Home-Start, or your health visitor might be able to provide advice here – it’s always worth asking. Take up any offers of help with housework and cooking meals. If you can afford to, consider paying for some extra help, whether that’s some cleaning and housework or delivered meals. If you can’t afford it, and you’re just too busy with the babies, don’t feel guilty about leaving housework or less essential tasks for a while – everything will get done eventually, and your little ones require your attention now. You can’t expect to manage everything yourself.
And remember to communicate! Be honest with your partner about how you’re feeling, and whether you’re coping well. When you need a break to wash, sleep, recharge and look after yourself, make sure you communicate that to those who are supporting you, so you can get the help you need when you need it.