Finding out you’re pregnant with twins can fill you with a wide variety of emotions including feelings of both excitement and anxiety.
We hope to alleviate any negative feelings and help you better prepare for having twins with this ultimate guide.
How to Prepare for the Birth of Your Twins
Prepare Your Body
Carrying twins can be a tough gig, but at least you have two excuses for couch surfing with a pint of ice cream!
Still, twin mamas benefit as much from prenatal exercise as their singleton mom counterparts.
Whatever way your twins find their way out and into the world, staying fit during pregnancy can help with your labor, delivery, and recovery.
Find out from your OB what types of exercise are compatible with your twin pregnancy, and try to work some into your schedule. There is no need to go outside of your comfort zone.
Once you get the green light, try walking, prenatal yoga, and some gentle strengthening exercises such as squats and bird-dogs.
Be sure to include some kegels, that is, exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
To do ‘em, it’s pretty simple: Contract your pelvic floor muscles (they are the ones that you feel when you start and stop the flow of pee), hold them for about 10 seconds, and then release.
Repeat the exercise about 20 times for one set, and complete about three sets throughout the day.
You’ll want to keep your legs, abs, and bum muscles relaxed and focus on just the pelvic floor muscles while breathing normally.
Now, we’ve discussed how staying fit during pregnancy is important, just remember-so is eating and resting. Listen to your body-it knows what to do!
Eat when you are hungry, and rest when you are tired.
Check with your doctor about your particular needs, but a weight gain of 24 pounds by 24 weeks is generally associated with good outcomes for twins.
Write Down Your Birth Plans and Be Prepared for Them to Change
Everyone has a vision of how they would like their delivery to go.
Usually, it is doesn’t involve 40 strangers crowding around you, maybe five of whom are actually discussing your delivery and not who wants to order pizza, and all the while you are not wearing any pants (maybe it does involve that-who are we to say).
But the reality of birth plans and the actual birth is that, well, they don’t always go according to plan. Still, that doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether!
Writing a birth plan for twins can help you convey your preferences to your medical team so you feel in control of your body and babies.
Just don’t fret if you have to veer off at some point-what is best for the safety of you and your babies are always the best choice and instead not adhering to a rigid principle or dream scenario.
Before writing your birth plan, taking a birthing class with your partner can help you learn what options you have for delivering twins. Be sure to let the instructor know you are having multiples!
Important Questions to Ask Yourself and Doctor When Preparing for a Twin Pregnancy
- How will you deliver? Vaginally? C-section? If there is a chance of emergency C-section for Baby B, would you prefer to deliver both babies by planned C-section? How do you feel about induction and augmentation?
- Who, of family or friends, is allowed to be with you in the labor and delivery room? In the operating room?
- What sort of environment will you prefer-quiet? Dim lights? Music playing?
- How will you labor? Walking? Rocking? Laying down? On a birth ball? In the shower? Breathing exercises? Massage? What if anything limits your mobility (i.e. IV fluids, an epidural, or fetal heart monitors)?
- How will you manage pain? Relaxation techniques? Epidural? Spinal block? Narcotics? If you don’t get an epidural-do you accept that general anesthesia could become necessary?
- Who will cut the umbilical cord? Do you want delayed cord clamping if possible?
- When your babies are born, would you like them to be placed skin-to-skin with you and/or your partner when safe to do so?
- If planning to breastfeed, would you like to try to latch babies ASAP? Should a lactation consultant to be present? Is supplementing with formula using a bottle or by finger-feeding ok? Are pacifiers ok? Should a hospital breast pump be made available to you ASAP after birth?
- If one or both of your babies are to be admitted to the NICU immediately, will your partner (or someone else) accompany them until you are able to join? If your babies/baby is not admitted to the NICU, will they be boarding with you in your hospital room or in the nursery?
Be Ready to Roll
The last few weeks leading up to the birth of your twins are an exciting time, and for sure you will pack and unpack and repack your hospital bag 52 times to make sure you have everything.
Have your goodies packed (Read: What to Pack in your Hospital Bag for Twins) by week 32 (certainly, you hope not to deliver this early but it will be one less thing to worry about later!).
Install your car seats and have them inspected for safety. It is an interesting sensation, driving around with two car seats in the back, just waiting to be filled with your newborn babies.
Here’s another tip for smooth sailing: determine who will be driving you to the hospital, and drive the course to familiarize the way and know how long it will take you to get there (especially if traffic is likely certain times of day).
Have a Baby Shower
We’re not talking about washing up (although these may soon be a luxury so why not get in a few extra while you can?!) rather registering for baby shower gifts (Read: Twin Registry Must-Haves).
The average twin pregnancy is 35 weeks, and your body may feel like a full term singleton pregnancy long before that.
If someone is planning to have a shower for you (Read: Twin Baby Showers), plan to have it sometime between the end of your second trimester and beginning of your third, say weeks 27-30.
You will have a bit more energy for socializing and will be more comfortable than in the weeks to come.
You also need time to do any necessary returns or exchanges, buy anything that you didn’t receive, and assemble all of those gadgets in your nursery before the twins arrive!
Name those Babies…
…or at least have a short list of finalists. Really, do you want to refer to your twins as A and B for the first few days of their lives?
How to Prepare for Twins Coming Home
Put that nesting energy to good use and give your home a thorough cleaning.
Your newborn twins may not care how clean it is, but coming home to a sparkling nest with your new baby birds will help you relax and focus on the important task of caring for your little ones!
Also, there are some tasks that you just may not be able to do for a long time, say washing windows or cleaning out cupboards, so tackle them while you have the time.
Cook and Freeze
Preparing dinner can be a tricky endeavor for quite a while when you have two babies (let alone sitting down together and eating it while it is still warm.
Prior to bringing home the twins, spend a few days in the kitchen and stock your freezer with pre-cooked or dump-and-cook meals like casseroles, soups, enchiladas, stuffed peppers, or marinated meat and veggies to toss over grains.
Tip: pouches of pre-cooked grains like rice and quinoa are the bee’s knees to make short work of it.
Grab a Screwdriver
If you have anything new that requires assembly (think: cribs, pack n’ plays/bassinets, swings, infant chairs, etc.) make sure you put them together before bringing home two wiggly worms.
Oh, and maybe you don’t need this advice, but maybe you do: assemble them in the room where they will be stationed…so you don’t build it only to find it doesn’t.fit.through.the.door.
Wash Wash Wash
Most manufacturers of baby clothes and products recommend prewashing before using on your babies.
This can be pretty time consuming so get going ahead of time and you’ll have everything washed, dried, and put away when babies arrive.
Wash and dry all of those adorable, tiny clothes. Boil your bottles, pacifiers, and don’t forget…your PUMP PARTS (if it is recommended…check the manual!).
How to Prepare for Twins Financially or on a Budget
Get Ready for the Hospital Bills
No doubt, navigating the world of deductibles, copays, etc. can make your head spin.
Call a health insurance representative and ask for help understanding what your financial responsibility will be before delivering twins.
The truth is, between the delivery and potentially longer hospital stays, your bill for twins could be a hearty figure. There isn’t a need to panic-just to prepare!
It is impossible to know exactly how everything will go down, and therefore impossible to know for sure what your exact bill will be. Just try to get a ball-park estimate.
Many hospitals offer financial counseling, so take advantage of that too! Whether you are able to save the money ahead of time to pay-in-full or you will be generating a payment plan, just decide before the twins arrive how the bill will work into your budget.
Many hospitals offer financial counseling, so if that’s an option, then consider taking advantage of it! The point is to try and get a ball-park estimate.
Whether you are able to save the money ahead of time to pay-in-full or you will be generating a payment plan, just decide before the twins arrive how the bill will work into your budget.
As for those bills themselves, your next few months will be pretty busy, so be ready to intercept (a.k.a. not lose) them.
Make a bill station with a folder for unpaid bills as they roll in, a calendar for due dates, and a folder for paid bills to file later.
Keep stamps, checks, and pens in the folder so when you have a minute to deal with them you don’t have to go searching.
It is also a good idea to keep a photocopy of your insurance ID card in the folder in case you need to make any phone calls.
“So Ya Gotta Let me Know, Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
When you got your positive pregnancy test, becoming a stay at home mother may not have even crossed your mind.
Then, you went to that first ultrasound, and with that second, beautiful heartbeat thumping away on the monitor, each expense unfurled before your mind’s eye twice what it was before.
Daycare costs vary per state, and depending on your living expenses and your household income, having a parent stay home with the twins might make the most financial sense.
You need to also consider benefits like health insurance or intangibles like job security.
Money aside, the most important thing to consider is how you feel.
Some moms will take a financial loss to stay home with their babies, and some may take a net loss to keep a position that is important to them.
There is no wrong answer, just what works best for your family!
Spread Out the Investment
Diapers and wipes can be purchased in advance using coupons to save some money down the road.
Purchasing clothes out-of-season is another easy way to save a few dollars with babies, just don’t get too far ahead in case they end up being a bit bigger or smaller for their age!
The formula is another thing you can save big on with coupons, but don’t buy too much of this in advance either in case you need to switch styles.
Needless to say, breastfeeding even a little bit can save a lot of money on formula over time.
DIY and Hand-me-Downs
Save even more green by cloth diapering (Read: Cloth Diapering Twins 101), and making your own baby food-its not as hard as it seems.
When it comes to hand-me-downs, say yes!
Baby clothes can add up to some serious cash, but they will get messy and outgrown quickly.
Go ahead and indulge in some cute, new outfits for pictures, but stock up on second-hand pjs/onesies and sweatpants as their mainstay.
Some things hold up well from baby to baby too, so see if you can borrow items like a baby carrier or bouncy chair from friends whose kids have outgrown them.
How to Mentally Prepare for Twins
Learn a Stress Relieving Strategy That Works for You
It can help to learn what calming strategies work for you when you’re not in the midst of caring for two grumpy babies.
Some ideas to try: repeating a mantra, taking deep breaths and counting to ten, placing your forehead down on an ice-pack (or frozen peas!), smiling (even if you don’t feel like it), turning on relaxing music, taking a shower, or having a cup of tea.
Knowledge is Everything
You will not get much sleep, you will need to provide care for two babies around the clock, and sometimes you will just not know what to do.
Dealing with newborn twin babies will test your patience, your endurance, and probably your relationship.
Knowing this doesn’t change anything, but it is certainly better than getting taken off-guard.
You may already know what to expect, but if your partner doesn’t, help them to understand too so you don’t end up with three grumpy babies on your hands….
Change Your Expectations
Now that you know what’s coming, change your expectations.
You will find peace once you finally realize that your babies always come first and you will never, ever be able to get everything done that needs to get done.
Leaving something until tomorrow sounds like procrastination-and that’s bad right? Not when you have twins.
Try to put a positive spin on it-there is always tomorrow, this will be waiting for me tomorrow, but my babies need me now. There is only one now, and they are only babies once!
Preparing for Twins Checklist
-Hospital bag packed
-Assembled bassinets, swing(s), crib(s), bouncy chairs, Pack ‘N Play, Rock n’ Play, etc.
-Stocked up with at least a one month supply of diapers, wipes, formula if you plan to use it, and newborn clothes.
-Meals cooked/prepped and frozen
-Paperwork sent into hospital (if required)
-Had a baby shower
-Made arrangements at work for maternity leave/time off
-Your partner or anyone planning to spend time home with the babies has arranged for time off with their employer
-Anyone who will be in close contact with twins in the first few months has received Tdap vaccine, and flu vaccine if it is seasonally appropriate
-Have driven and timed the route to the hospital
-Tour the hospital
-Take a birthing class
-Arrange for someone to feed your pets while you are away
-Wash/boil bottles, pump parts, pacifiers, baby clothes, etc.