Pregnancy and baby

Getting ready for twins

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.

Who to contact about twins

You can get useful information about what it's like to have twins from Tamba (Twins & Multiple Births Association). This charity offers some free information, but you can get access to all of their leaflets and support by paying a small annual subscription and becoming a member.

Websites like Twinsclub and Mumsnet, which has a section for parents of twins or more, have advice from other parents of multiples.

Specialist organisations, such as the Multiple Births Foundation, provide information on twins and sell lots of 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 more about their twins and multiples workshops

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 Twinsclub 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.

Finding information on having twins

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. NHS Choices has plenty of information on everything from writing your birth plan to soothing a crying baby and helping your babies to sleep.  

Tamba's healthy multiple pregnancy guide, which can be downloaded free from its website if you register your details, covers multiple pregnancy issues.   

You can also find information on maternity and paternity benefits and leave, 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 unit. More than 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 must 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 their volunteers are in big demand. 

Keeping down the costs

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 Twinsclub sales and charity shops for second-hand baby equipment.

You can also ask around to see if friends and family can pass anything on. It's best to buy new cot mattresses rather than second-hand ones, though. Also, be wary of buying second-hand car seats, as you must be sure they have not been involved in an accident. 

Read more about buying baby car seats.

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 your hospital bag 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 they 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: 04/06/2014

Next review due: 04/06/2016

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