Pregnancy and baby

Getting ready for twins or multiples

Having twins is exciting and challenging, so it's a good idea to be well prepared before your babies arrive.

While family and friends may have lots of expertise when it comes to single babies, twins or more may be new for everyone.

You can get useful information about what it’s like to have twins from the Twins & Multiple Births Association (Tamba). This charity offers some free information, but you can access a wealth of leaflets and support by paying an annual subscription and becoming a member. For more information on membership, visit the Tamba website.

Websites such as Twins Club and Mumsnet, which has a section devoted to mums of multiples, have advice from other parents of multiples.

Specialist organisations, such as the Multiple Births Foundation, provide information on twins and sell many useful leaflets and books. Also, ask your midwife whether your hospital runs any antenatal classes for parents expecting twins.

The NCT (formerly the National Childbirth Trust) runs some classes for mothers expecting twins or more. Check the NCT website to find out what's available in your area. 

Tamba runs antenatal classes for parents expecting twins or more. These are open to both members and non-members.

You can also find a list of Twins Clubs on the Tamba or Twins Club websites. These clubs often organise events where parents expecting twins can talk to other parents of twins to find out what to expect.

The Multiple Births Foundation holds regular evening talks for families expecting a multiple birth.

Be prepared

Although coping with two or more babies can be more challenging, much of the preparation for the arrival of your babies is the same as if you were expecting a single child. This Pregnancy and baby guide has plenty of information on everything from coping with morning sickness and other common health problems, to healthy eating and foods to avoid.  

Tamba’s Healthy Multiple Pregnancy Guide, which can be downloaded free from its website if you register your details, also covers multiple pregnancy issues.   

You can also find information on maternity leave and benefits, although parents of twins or more are not currently entitled to any extra benefits in England.

Get ready for multiples

You'll need to make a few extra preparations if you're expecting twins or more.

Ask if you can go on a tour of your hospital’s maternity unit, and ask to see the neonatal care facilities. Half of all multiple births are premature, so your babies are more likely to end up needing some special care. It’s best to know what to expect.

If possible, arrange for someone to help you after the birth. An extra pair of hands is a necessity when you have newborn twins. If you're expecting triplets, you'll almost certainly need help for at least the first few months. Ask if family and friends can help out or, if you can afford it, arrange for paid childcare at least for the first few weeks. If money is tight, Home-Start may be able to arrange some temporary help. Contact them early as there's a great demand for their volunteers. 

Stock up on essentials

Having more than one baby can be expensive, so it’s worth getting advice from other mums of twins about what you really need so you don’t waste money on unnecessary extras.

Tamba’s Healthy Multiple Pregnancy Guide lists the basics you'll need. To save money when shopping for two or more babies, it’s worth visiting NCT sales, local Twins Club sales and charity shops for second-hand baby equipment. You can also ask around to see if friends and family can pass anything on. If possible, buy new cot mattresses rather than second-hand ones. Also, be wary of buying second-hand car seats, as you must be certain they have not been involved in an accident. 

Pack your hospital bag

Tamba’s Healthy Multiple Pregnancy Guide has a useful checklist of everything you need to take with you for the labour and birth of your babies. Pack it early in your pregnancy, ideally from 26 weeks, as twins often arrive early. Check with your hospital as some provide a list of what you need to bring. Pack enough supplies for two babies. Twins are often smaller than single babies, so may need tiny baby, rather than newborn, size clothes.

Find out more about giving birth to twins and feeding twins and multiples.

Healthtalk online has videos and written interviews with women talking about having a twin pregnancy.

 

Page last reviewed: 28/06/2012

Next review due: 28/06/2014

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Giving birth to twins or more

What to expect including who will be present and what happens after the first baby is born

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