Seek Support and Take Care of Yourself
Once your suspicions are confirmed, it can take a while to adjust to the news. Depending on whether the pregnancy was desired, learning that you're having more than one baby—and therefore will have a high-risk pregnancy—may be shocking. If you've been told you're expecting triplets or more, the news can be very scary, because with each additional baby, the risks increase. Noble describes it this way, "Confirmation of triplets or quadruplets can be very threatening to [a] couple. In addition to the enormous changes that the care of higher-order multiples involves, the couple may be acutely aware of the hazards during pregnancy and birth. Guilt feelings are not uncommon as parents deal with the thought of such a large and sudden increase in family size and the attendant stress."
To cope with all that stress, multiple pregnancy experts recommend that mothers-to-be not only educate themselves about their special needs, but also seek support. There are a host of specialized groups ranging from the 40-year-old National Organization of Mothers of Twins to The Triplet Connection which boast a variety of services from informational packets to supportive phone calls, to opportunities to talk to experienced parents of multiples.
Along with seeking support, women carrying multiple babies are also urged to take care of themselves as their pregnancies are categorized as high risk. Mothers pregnant with multiples are more likely to have anemia, toxemia (high blood pressure), water retention, and Cesarean sections. Babies born in sets of two or more are at risk for premature birth, low birth weight, and possible breech positions.
In some cases, mothers expecting more than one baby are put on bed rest, ranging from stopping work to hospitalization. Count on seeing your practitioner often and on having many more ultrasounds than you would for a single pregnancy so risk factors can be closely monitored.
Typical recommendations given to mothers expecting multiples include getting ample iron, drinking plenty of water, and eating well. "The woman carrying twins has about one-and-one-half times the caloric need of the singleton mom, and she should listen to what her body is telling her and eat accordingly," the book Twins! advises.
With the advent of new technologies, those specializing in multiple pregnancies say it's safer than ever to successfully carry more than one baby. "Most twins and triplets are born healthy today," Spencer writes.