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You’re at your obstetrician’s office when you get the surprise of a lifetime: you hear not one, but two (or maybe even more!) heartbeats.
Now that you know you have multiple little ones on the way, what can you do to prepare?
It’s important to take precautions when you’re pregnant with twins, triplets, or multiples –not only for your babies’ safety but also for yours. Here are a few guidelines to follow.
- Nutrition: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s recommended for women pregnant with twins to consume an extra 1,000 calories per day (compared to 300 daily calories). They also recommend taking prenatal vitamins, like folic acid, staying full, and snacking frequently, which can help not only with the calorie intake but also with nausea.
- Hydration: Drink lots of water. This is a recommendation that applies to all of us, but during multiple pregnancies, it’s especially important to stay hydrated. Your babies’ extra blood flow and waste removal depend on it! If bathroom visits become too frequent, you can try to drink as much water as possible during the day and stop about 8:00 pm, to reduce the number of bathroom runs during the night.
- Sleep: It can be pretty tiring to carry more than one baby, and it will get more tiring towards the third trimester. Self-care is very important. Consider meditation or keeping a consistent sleep schedule.
- Attention to detail: Multiples are often born before term, so keeping an eye on new pregnancy symptoms and bringing them to your doctor’s attention is crucial. Look out for changes in vaginal discharge, bleeding, back pain, contractions, diarrhea, headaches, or rapid weight gain. Pay attention to what your body and babies are telling you.
- Visits to the doctor: You will need to follow this pregnancy more closely than a regular one so appointments can be more frequent, especially during the last few weeks. There’s a higher chance of preterm labor, so it’s important to keep track.
- Qualified medical care: When choosing your medical team, look for professionals who have previous experience with multiples’ delivery. This means they will likely have the resources and “know-how” to make your pregnancy as healthy as possible.
Take care of yourself and enjoy the adventure!
Olivia Maitret is a psychologist with a minor in Education and a Masters in Brief Systemic Therapy. She is a mindfulness instructor, trained on the treatment of Learning Disabilities. Olivia spent 4 years as a Preschool teacher, 3 years as a school counselor, and trains children in meditation. She is a family psychotherapist and feels excited to support parents and teachers from around the world in their essential participation in child development.