The average delivery date for twins is about 36 weeks; for triplets, the average is about 33 weeks. I advise my patients not to wait too long to take care of their preparations for the babies' birth. This section gives you suggestions to help you get ready.
Many expectant mothers wait until they are close to the delivery date of their baby to buy nursery items they will need. However, don't wait that long if you are the expectant mother of multiples—you second trimester is not too early to shop for these things. It may be bett< to choose them while you can get around easily than to wait until you are too big to move comfortably or even until after your babies are born
Tip: If you're expecting twins, buy necessary nursery items in the second trimester—while you can still move around comfortably!
Often a physician will advise a woman expecting twins to stop working at least 8 weeks before her due date. Ideally, a woman should stop working at 28 weeks with a twin pregnancy—24 weeks if her job requires standing or physical exertion.
We try to delay delivery of twins until about the 37th week of pregnancy, and triplets until about the 35th week. In many cases, these pregnancies deliver earlier.
It's a great idea to take these classes for any pregnancy. However, schedule your classes to begin at least 2 to 3 months before your due date if you're expecting more than one baby. If you have time, a brief course in Cesarean birth might also be worthwhile, if you can find one in your area.
How multiple fetuses are delivered depends on how the babies are lying in the uterus. All possible combinations of fetal positions can occur. Some doctors believe two or more babies should always be delivered by Cesarean section. When twins are both in a head-first position, a vaginal delivery may be attempted. One baby may be delivered vaginally, with the second requiring a C-section if the baby turns, if the cord comes out first or if the second baby is distressed after the first baby is born.
Feeding More Than One Baby
Many of my patients who are expecting twins ask if they can breastfeed two babies. Yes, it's possible. It will be more demanding, but many women successfully breastfeed twins.
We know breast milk is especially valuable for small or premature infants; often twins are both. If you want to breastfeed, do try it.
It's certainly possible to breastfeed two babies, but it will be more demanding for you.
If you have triplets, it is possible to breastfeed all three babies. You'll find it is challenging, but it's important to try, if you want to. One way you may be able to do it is to let each baby breastfeed for a bit at a feeding, then supplement with formula. You can also express your milk, and divide it among the three babies. Because triplets are usually small and premature, your breast milk is especially valuable to them.
Women who carry more than one baby commonly experience heartburn more frequently than other pregnant women. Heartburn is caused by the larger uterus encroaching on the space the stomach usually enjoys by itself.
Taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your developing babies. A multiple pregnancy is more stressful for your body than a single pregnancy, and your needs increase in many areas.
A woman carrying multiples has to eat more—at least 300 more calories per baby each day. A woman needs more protein, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.
Keep track of your weight.
You are more likely to put on extra weight with multiple fetuses. For a normal-weight woman, a weight gain of 35 to 45 pounds (15.75 to 20.25kg) for a twin birth is recommended. However, some women do not gain as much weight because of the added stress on their bodies.
Get extra iron.
Iron supplementation is essential. Often women who are pregnant with more than one baby have iron-deficiency anemia.
Check before exercising.
Walking and swimming may be permissible for you while you're pregnant with multiple fetuses. Be sure to check out any exercise program with your doctor before you do anything. Don't do anything strenuous, and stop immediately if you feel overexerted. As much as you want to stay in shape, you may have to forgo all exercise until after your babies are safely delivered.