Expecting twins can feel overwhelming, leaving you wondering where to start. Here’s what to do when you’re having twins.
Long before we had our eldest, my husband and I discussed how many kids we wanted to have. “Let’s have four!” we had agreed. After all, we both come from large families—I have four siblings while he has five. The “large family” idea was one we both wanted to continue with our own.
And then we had our little guy, where I changed my mind. “I’m done with one,” I had said, miserable and sleep-deprived.
Now that we’re less miserable and sleep-deprived, we decided a second child wasn’t such a bad idea. We wanted our son to have a sibling, and I felt like we were ready for another one. “This is it, though,” I warned. “We’re stopping at two.”
So imagine my surprise—among many emotions—when the doctor announced during our first sonogram, “I have good news… and better news: You’re having twins!”
Here’s what to do when you’re having twins
After the shock of hearing news of my twin pregnancy, one of the first thoughts to enter my mind was: Now what?
I didn’t know any other twin moms and had no idea what I was supposed to do next. How is this twin pregnancy different from my singleton? What gear will I need? And how will I get through the myriad of emotions washing over me?
Consider the following advice if you just found out you’re having twins:
1. Don’t push yourself physically
I had been walking around the block and felt an urge to stop and lie down on the grass.
I brought it up to my doctor the next day: “Do I need to exercise?” Apparently not. If you’re expecting twins, you should focus on taking it easy rather than exerting yourself. It’s no joke that carrying twins is much more tiresome on the body than a singleton pregnancy.
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 my bed to the dining room will feel just as exhausting (I kid you not).
2. Eat a ton of healthy food, not fatty food
I needed to gain a ton of weight—fast. I had gained a measly two pounds during my first trimester and needed to pack on the pounds. Except I assumed calories were calories, no matter the source. So off I went, eating burgers, 1,000-calorie chocolate shakes, and spoonfuls of Nutella every day.
So here’s what I would tell my former self with the hindsight I know now: Skip the bad food. Instead, choose high-calorie, “good fat” food. Stuff like avocados, sweet potatoes, eggs, nuts and healthy protein.
I also wish I had a juicer to blend platefuls of vegetables. Combining all those calories would’ve taken too much time and effort to chew. A smoothie or juice would do the trick in a single, easy-to-down drink.
According to my doctor, twin moms should aim to gain 24 pounds by 24 weeks. I did meet that goal, but by eating terrible food. Granted, calories are calories—better any calories than none when trying to grow babies.
Still, I wish I had been better about sticking to a healthy diet. Or at least found a more strategic way of consuming food other than downing milkshakes and Nutella.
3. Apply for a handicap placard
As you likely noticed, carrying twins is exhausting, even if you’re only in the first trimester. So when you hit the second and third trimesters, you can bet that you’ll be wanting to limit how far you walk.
Thankfully, the staff at my doctor’s office recommended I apply for a handicap placard. The temporary card would allow me to park in spots closer to where I needed to go. From doctor visits to grocery stores, parking as close as possible helped tremendously.
Simply download a handicap placard application form from your DMV and ask your doctor to sign off and approve it.
4. Buy the right gear
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
What’s important to one person isn’t always important to the next. Instead, buy what you like and save money on everything else.
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).
So what did I buy and/or use two of?
- Two cribs
- Two car seats
- Two bouncy seats for simultaneous bottle-feeding
- Two high chairs (this or this)
Want to know exactly what to get for your twins? Join my newsletter and download my Twin Registry Must-Haves and keep track of what you have and the items you still need to get. Grab it below—at no cost to you:
5. Find other twin moms
Whether you’re a seasoned mom or a first-timer, carrying (and raising) twins is different. I couldn’t explain my symptoms to singleton moms without sounding like I was exaggerating or complaining.
So I sought other moms who knew what the terms momo, modi and didi were. Moms who could relate to looking nine months pregnant at only five months along.
Find your tribe of twin moms to support you through the next few months. Find online forums and local twin mom groups. And reach out to twin moms even if they’re long past the pregnancy stage—they can still provide the support and empathy you need.
6. Prepare yourself emotionally
Once you announce your twin pregnancy, you’ll get all sorts of responses.
Some you’ll be glad for, while others you’ll be mortified to hear. Some moms shudder at even the happy responses when they’re still grappling with the idea of twins. Still others are turned off when people “pity” them and list the hardships they’ll now face.
Brace yourself for all sorts of reactions, and remind yourself that they’re happy for you, no matter how they express it. Yes, even the male co-worker who says, “Wow, you’re huge!”
7. Talk or write about your concerns
When my husband and I talked about adding to the family, I prepared for one more child, not two.
So when I learned we’d 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 valid concerns, and some of my dire predictions did come true (I ended up having a few complications).
Yet most turned out fine. Even though my twins were born prematurely, they didn’t spend any time in the NICU. They passed all the tests, and came home with us from the hospital.
We’re able to afford childcare and school for all three kids (tightly, but still doing it). And we hired a wonderful nanny to care for the twins.
Adjusting to twins takes time. One day you’re celebrating with your husband then crying on the phone with your friend the next. But I’ve come to 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.
Finding out you’re having twins is a shock for any parent, but you’ll get through the next few months knowing exactly what to do.
On the practical side, listen to your body without pushing yourself too far. Stick to eating rich, healthy food and blended meals to pile on the calories. Apply for a handicap placard so you can get prime parking spots. Get the right gear, knowing which ones to get two of.
On the emotional side, find other twin moms for support and reassurance. Prepare yourself emotionally, especially with how people will respond to your news of twins. And finally, communicate and open up about how you feel, whether in a journal or with loved ones.
Having twins, no matter how shocked I was, certainly was the “better” news my doctor announced. Even if the journey to get here was far more different than I ever expected.
Get more tips:
- Check Out These Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Twins
- How to Handle Twins after a Singleton
- Surprising Costs of Raising Twins You Never Knew
- How to Handle Twin Babies Alone
- Finding it Hard to Raise Twins? You’re Not Alone.
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