Don’t push yourself physically
I learned quickly that carrying twins is much more tiresome on the body than a singleton pregnancy: I had been walking around the block like I usually do when I felt exhausted, to the point where if no one was watching, I would have just collapse on the strip of grass along the sidewalk.
I brought it up to my doctor the next day: “Do I need to exercise?” Thankfully she said no. Short of being an immobile sloth, women pregnant with twins should focus on taking it easy rather than exerting themselves. Above all, listen to your body. I sure did, and since that day, have kept exercise to a minimum. Because down the line, walking from bed to the dining room will eventually feel just as exhausting (I kid you not).
Eat a ton of healthy food, not fatty food
I had a bit of a conundrum: I needed to gain a ton of weight (to make up for the measly two pounds I added during my first trimester / morning sickness phase) and thought that calories were calories, no matter its source. So off I went, eating burgers and 1,000-calorie chocolate shakes. And spoonfuls of Nutella every day.
And here’s what I would tell my former self with the hindsight I know now: Skip the crappy food. Instead, opt for high-calorie, “good fat” food like avocados, sweet potatoes, eggs, nuts and healthy protein. I also wish I had a juicer where I could blend platefuls of vegetables—combining all those calories that would take too much time and effort to chew—into a single, easy-to-down drink.
According to my doctor, twin moms should aim to gain 24 pounds by 24 weeks. I met that goal, but by eating terrible food. Granted, perhaps calories are calories—better any calories than no calories when trying to grow babies. Still, I wish I had been better about sticking to a healthy diet, or a more strategic way of consuming calories other than 1,000-calorie shakes.
Apply for a handicap placard
I can’t believe I’m adding this to my list because it seems so insignificant… until you actually get to use one of these suckers. Download a handicap placard application form from your DMV and ask your doctor to sign off on it. I got to use one towards the middle and end of my pregnancy, and thank goodness I did. Walking to places really helped out when the distance wasn’t too far off.
Buy the right gear
Everything is a preference
There are tons of lists out there, from “10 Must-Have Items for Your Twins!” to “10 Items You Absolutely Don’t Need for Your Twins!” It’s all pretty much a preference. What’s important to one person isn’t always important to the next. Instead, consider what you prefer, spend money on that, and save money on everything else.
If anything, buy as you go. You’d be surprised at how much childbirth will make you a hypocrite (“I’m never going to buy a swing!” Two weeks later: baby sleeps five hours in none other than the brand new swing you just bought).
Items you need two of
So what did I buy and/or use two of specifically for twins?
- Two cribs
- Two car seats (reused the old one again up to its expiration date)
- Two bouncy seats for simultaneous bottle-feeding
- Two high chairs
- A double stroller
- A nursing pillow for tandem-feeding twins
Find other twin moms
Join online boards or twin mom groups
Whether you’re a seasoned mom or a first-timer, carrying (and raising) twins will be different. I found that I couldn’t complain about my symptoms to other singleton moms without sounding like I was exaggerating. So I sought other moms who knew exactly what the terms momo, modi and didi were and could relate to looking nine months pregnant at five.
Prepare yourself emotionally
Weird responses from people
Fair warning: once you announce your twin pregnancy, you will receive a wide array of responses, some of which you’ll be glad for, and others you’ll be mortified to hear. Some moms can’t stand the joyous responses when they themselves are still grappling with the idea of twins, while others are turned off when people “pity” them and immediately list all the hardships they’ll now face (“Double the trouble!”).
Bottom line is that almost everyone will be genuinely happy for you, however way they express their response. Yes, even the male co-worker who says, “Wow, you’re huge!”
Talk or write about your concerns
When my husband and I talked about adding to the family, I was prepared for one more kid, not two. So when I found out we were, in fact, going to be parents of three kids, my mind began swimming in worries: How will we pay for everything? Who’s going to take care of the babies? What if I have pregnancy complications? Will the babies are born prematurely and have health problems?
These are all valid concerns, and some of my dire predictions actually did come true. Yet most turned out fine. Even though my twins were born prematurely (as 60% of twins tend to do), they didn’t spend any time in the NICU, passed all the tests, and came home with us from the hospital. We’re somehow able to afford child care and school for all three kids (tightly, but still doing it), and we hired a wonderful nanny to care for the twins.
I’m not one to leave life in the hands of the universe, yet I do believe that things will work themselves out somehow. Write your thoughts down in a journal, or discuss them with your partner or close family and friends. Adjusting to the idea of twins takes time and can fluctuating from celebrating with your husband one day to crying on the phone with your friend the next (both times true in my case).
As with most things in parenting, we learn as we go along. You’ll find your groove during this pregnancy and beyond, sticking to the methods that work for you and not bothering with those that don’t. Hopefully you have found some answers to the many questions I’m guessing are swimming through your mind. And above all, remember that you can do this. You absolutely can.
What are some of your concerns with having twins?