Expecting twins can feel overwhelming, leaving you wondering where to start and how to prepare. 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 became parents to our eldest, and I quickly changed my mind. “I’m done with one,” I said, miserable and sleep-deprived.
After two to three years of being less miserable and sleep-deprived, we decided a second child would be a good 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 pregnant—and you’re having twins!”
Here’s what to do when you’re having twins
After the shock of hearing the news of my twin pregnancy, one of the first thoughts was: Now what?
I didn’t know other twin moms and had no idea what I was supposed to do next. How would this twin pregnancy be different from my singleton? What gear would I need? And how would I get through the myriad of emotions washing over me?
If you’re having twins, I’m willing to bet you can relate. I wanted to share a few of the first steps I took that made the rest of my twin pregnancy much easier and more manageable. As other twin moms said about the tips I share:
“This post is so reassuring. I am 11 weeks pregnant with twins which was a total unplanned pregnancy… I have had so many emotions about it all and am so scared to have twins. Thank you for your helpful post.” -Natalie
“Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve been searching for any and all advice on twin pregnancy since we found out last week that I’ve got two in there! While I’ve done this a few times, it is NOTHING like any of the others. I’m fully aware just how different each pregnancy can be, but this is beyond even that. At only 7 weeks I feel much closer to 27 weeks and look like 17! It is not easy to find accurate, honest, helpful information about twin pregnancy vs singleton, or preparing for twins. I’ve bookmarked this site and plan to come back often. I need all the help I can get!” -Shay
1. 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 as helpful to the next. Instead, buy what you like and save money on everything else.
And buy as you go. You’d be surprised at how much childbirth will make you change your mind:
- Before having twins: “I’m never going to buy a swing!”
- Two weeks after having twins: The babies sleep five hours in none other than the brand new swing you just bought.
But don’t worry—you don’t always need to buy two of everything. In fact, I got away with just the one swing I used for my eldest. That said, there are a few items you’ll need to buy in double:
- Two cribs
- Two car seats
- Two bouncy seats for simultaneous bottle-feeding
- Two high chairs (this or this)
- A double stroller. You won’t be able to get away with a single stroller, so a double is a must.
- A twin nursing pillow. Nursing pillows for singletons won’t cut it when you’re breastfeeding twins.
Free printables: Want to know exactly what to get for your twins? Join my newsletter and download your copy of Twin Registry Must-Haves to track what you have and the items you still need to get. Grab it below—at no cost to you:
2. Don’t push yourself physically
When I was pregnant with the twins, I’d take a lunch break from work and walk around the block. But even having done this regularly, there came a point when even that got too exhausting. So much so that, about halfway around, I just wanted to lie down on the strip of grass along the sidewalk.
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 more tiresome on the body than a singleton pregnancy.
Above all, listen to your body. I finally did and stopped pushing myself to walk around the block. And just a few months later, I could barely walk from my bed to the dining room without feeling exhausted.
3. Eat healthy food
I had to gain a lot of weight—fast.
I only gained a measly two pounds during my first trimester and needed to pack on the pounds. “Twenty-four pounds by week 24 is the general rule of thumb for twin pregnancies,” my doctor advised.
Eager to catch up, I started eating just about anything come the second trimester. Except I assumed calories were calories, no matter the source. Off I went, eating hamburgers, 1,000-calorie chocolate shakes, and spoonfuls of Nutella every day.
You can imagine how I felt and even the complications I had toward the third trimester.
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 into smoothies. Combining all those calories would’ve taken too much time and effort to chew, but a smoothie or juice would do the trick in a single, easy-to-down drink.
As I wrote in my book, Expecting Twins:
“The first trimester can be difficult to gain weight with morning sickness, but the general rule is to gain 24 pounds by week 24. Hopefully you’ll have less nausea the second trimester and gain enough weight then. Your main goal is to consume enough calories to grow your babies.”
I did meet that goal, but by eating terrible food. Granted, calories are calories—better to eat any calories than none when trying to grow two 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.
4. Apply for a handicap placard
As you likely noticed, carrying twins is exhausting, even if you’re only in the first trimester. 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 that 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 local DMV and ask your doctor to sign off for approval.
5. Find other twin moms
Whether you’re a seasoned mom or a first-timer, carrying (and raising) twins is different from singletons. 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. Moms who knew I wasn’t kidding when I said I was exhausted just walking to the dining room to eat.
Find your tribe of twin moms to support you through the next few months, from online forums to 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 your shocked coworker who sees your belly and blurts, “Wow, you’re huge!”
7. Trust that it will all work out
When my husband and I discussed 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 it always turns out fine. Somehow, I’m still here and lived to tell the tale, and so will you. 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 were able to afford childcare and preschool for all three kids (with a tight budget, but we still did 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, and the next crying on the phone with a friend. But I’ve come to believe that things will work themselves out somehow.
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 and avoid walking long distances. 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, trust in the future, and that everything will work out somehow.
Having twins, no matter how shocked I was, certainly was the “better” news my doctor announced. Even if the journey to get there 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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