Preparing for Multiple Birthsenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P_MultipleBirths_enHD_AR1.jpgAre you expecting more than one baby? Find out how to take care of yourself and prepare for your multiple birth experience.preparing for multiple births, multiple births, multiple birth, multiples, multiple, twins, twin, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, high-order births, high order births, more than one baby, identical twins, fraternal twins, super twins, monozygotic twins, dizygotic twins, fertility drugs, fertility treatments, carrying twins, carrying multiples, giving birth to twins, giving birth to multiples, reproductive technologies, ovarian hyperstimulation with insemination, superovulation, in vitro fertilization, premature delivery, preemies, premature babies, apnea, anemia, neonatal jaundice, neonatal intensive care unit, nicu, nicus, high-risk pregnancy, high-risk pregnancies, c-sections, cesarean sections04/26/200002/13/201802/13/2018Larissa Hirsch, MD02/13/20186531a9dd-8b47-4c49-af01-5e4ee363c3b5https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/multiple-births.html/<h3>What Are Multiple Births?</h3> <p>A multiple birth is when a mother is pregnant with more than one baby. This may mean a twin pregnancy, triplet pregnancy, or more.</p> <h3>What Are the Types of Multiple Births?</h3> <p>There are two types of twins: monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal).</p> <p><strong>Identical twins</strong> result from a single fertilized egg dividing into separate halves and continuing to develop into two separate but identical babies. These twins are genetically identical, with the same chromosomes and similar physical characteristics. They're the same sex and have the same blood type, hair, and eye color.</p> <p><strong>Fraternal twins</strong> come from two eggs that are fertilized by two separate sperm and are no more alike than other siblings born to the same parents. They may or may not be the same sex. This type of twins is much more common.</p> <p>"Supertwins" is a common term for triplets and other higher-order multiple births, such as quadruplets or quintuplets. These babies can be identical, fraternal, or a combination of both.</p> <h3>What Are the Risks of Multiple Births?</h3> <p>Risks that can come with carrying multiple babies include:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Pre-term (or early) labor resulting in premature births.</strong> A typical, single pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, but a twin pregnancy often lasts between 35 to 37 weeks. More than half of all twins are born <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preemies.html/">prematurely</a> (before 37 weeks), and the risk of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/born-early.html/">premature delivery</a> increases with higher-order multiples. <br />Premature babies (preemies) can have health challenges. Their risk increases the earlier they're born. Because the care of premature babies is so different from that of full-term infants, preemies are usually placed in a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/nicu-caring.html/">neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)</a> after delivery.</li> <li><strong>Other conditions during pregnancy.</strong> Preeclampsia, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/gestational-diabetes.html/">gestational diabetes</a>, placental problems, and fetal growth problems are more likely with multiple pregnancies. Because of this, moms who are pregnant with multiples are followed very closely by their doctor.</li> <li><strong>Long-term problems.</strong> <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/not-talk.html/">Developmental delays</a> and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cerebral-palsy.html/">cerebral palsy</a> are more likely as the number of multiples increases.</li> </ul> <h3>How Can I Stay Healthy During a Multiple Pregnancy?</h3> <p>Eating properly, getting enough rest, and regular <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medical-care-pregnancy.html/">prenatal care</a> are ways for any expectant mother to stay healthy.</p> <p>It's important to find health care professionals who have experience with multiple births, and to see your health care provider as he or she recommends. This is so that the doctor can be on the lookout for problems and treat them as needed.</p> <p>Ask your doctor to recommend a facility that specializes in multiple births. You should be part of a pre-term birth prevention program at your hospital and have immediate access to a specialized NICU should you go into early labor or if one of your babies is born with a health problem.</p> <h3>What Should I Eat if I'm Pregnant With Multiples?</h3> <p>If you're pregnant with multiples, you should follow general <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eating-pregnancy.html/">pregnancy nutrition</a> guidelines, including increasing your calcium and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preg-folic-acid.html/">folic acid</a> intake.</p> <p>Another <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/moms-nutrients.html/">dietary requirement</a> that must be increased if you're expecting more than one baby is protein. Getting enough protein can help your babies grow properly.</p> <p>During pregnancy, an increased supply of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/iron.html/">iron</a> is needed to make enough healthy red blood cells. Low numbers of red blood cells are common in multiple pregnancies. Your doctor will probably prescribe an iron supplement, as your requirement for this mineral usually can't be met by diet alone. Iron is absorbed more easily when combined with foods that have high amounts of vitamin C, like orange juice.</p> <p>The doctor will also tell you what vitamins to take to get the nutrients your growing babies need.</p> <h3>How Much Weight Should I Gain if I'm Pregnant With Multiples?</h3> <p>Mothers carrying multiples are expected to gain more weight during pregnancy than mothers carrying a single fetus. But exactly how much weight you should gain depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and the number of fetuses, so make sure to talk to your doctor.</p> <p>In general, though, you should consume about 300 additional calories a day for each fetus. It might be tough to eat a lot when your abdomen is full of babies, so try to eat smaller, more frequent meals.</p> <h3>How Should I Prepare for Delivery?</h3> <p>Getting ready for a multiple birth may seem overwhelming, especially with concerns about pre-term labor. But know that you have a network of support around you: capable doctors, a caring hospital staff, and a partner, family members, and/or friends.</p> <p>Discuss the options of vaginal delivery versus cesarean section (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/c-sections.html/">C-section</a>) with your doctor well before your due date. Even if you and your doctor agree to attempt a vaginal delivery, things may happen during labor or delivery that make a C-section necessary.</p> <p>You may choose to have additional birthing attendants in the room during labor and birth. For example, <a class="kh_anchor">midwives</a> are becoming more common. For multiples, it's usually recommended that a midwife work with a doctor, rather than alone.</p> <p>Hiring a <strong>doula</strong> is another option. Doulas offer support services to women during the birth, as well as after delivery, by assisting with infant care and household chores.</p> <h3>What Will Delivery Be Like?</h3> <p>As <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/true-labor.html/">labor begins</a>, you'll be connected to a fetal monitor so your doctor can check each baby's progress.</p> <p>If you're hoping for a vaginal delivery, remember that with multiples this isn't always possible. Sometimes, a C-section is needed to help keep the babies safe.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 1em;">Most triplets and other higher-order multiples are born by C-section.</span></p> <p>If your doctor needs to do a C-section, a catheter will be placed in your bladder, you'll be given medicine so that you don't feel pain, and an incision will be made in your abdomen and uterus. The doctor will then deliver your babies through the incision. The babies will be delivered within just a few minutes of each other with this approach. The incision will then be closed.</p> <p>Many babies born prematurely will need to go immediately to the NICU for the special care they need.</p> <h3>What Else Should I Know?</h3> <p>The first days, weeks, and months are often the most difficult for <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/parenting-multiples.html/">parents of multiples</a>, as everyone gets used to the frequent feedings, lack of sleep, and lack of personal time.</p> <p>It can help to join a support group for parents of multiples. Hearing what has worked well for others can help you find solutions to problems you come across.</p> <p>Enlist whatever help you can &mdash; from neighbors, family members, and friends &mdash; for household chores and daily tasks. Having extra hands around not only will make feedings easier and help you rest and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/recovering-delivery.html/">recover from delivery</a>;&nbsp;it also will give you the precious time you need to get to know your babies.</p>Prepararse para un parto múltiple¿A qué se debe este espectacular incremento de partos múltiples? ¿Y cómo debería prepararse usted para la experiencia de un parto múltiple?https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/multiple-births-esp.html/a75b8710-0b16-4e0b-b618-5a80e43f42cd
A Week-by-Week Pregnancy CalendarOur week-by-week illustrated pregnancy calendar is a detailed guide to all the changes taking place in your baby - and in you!https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pregnancy-calendar-intro.html/f08368e4-e28d-4773-a168-306afac33137
Are You in Labor?Here's how to tell the difference between true labor and false labor -- and when to get medical care. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/true-labor.html/e223057f-f50f-487d-a2be-25454286394e
Birth PlansThe reality of labor and birth may seem extremely far off - but now's the time to start planning for your baby by creating a birth plan that details your wishes.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/birth-plans.html/067405ca-56aa-409f-af00-da299027dcce
Eating During PregnancyTo eat well during pregnancy, your extra calories should come from nutritious foods that contribute to your baby's growth and development.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eating-pregnancy.html/d1bea4f3-86e5-4b49-80c3-45c58c1d0fd4
Genetic TestingAdvances in genetic testing help doctors diagnose and treat certain illnesses. The type of test done depends on which condition a doctor checks for.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/genetics.html/cbe49a95-6833-41f4-881a-c26287c4a33c
Medical Care During PregnancyThe sooner in pregnancy good care begins, the better for the health of both moms and their babies. Here's what to expect.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medical-care-pregnancy.html/697236c0-1f7e-4c28-bfc6-39ccf8ae2624
Parenting MultiplesParents of twins (or more!) can feel as if they've left the hospital and arrived home on a different planet. Here's how to cope.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/parenting-multiples.html/ea88fd43-f6bc-4cca-9b56-838333a52fde
Pregnant or Breastfeeding? Nutrients You NeedLearn which nutrients you need while pregnant or breastfeeding, and easy ways to add them to your diet.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/moms-nutrients.html/5186a8b0-6ccd-4a91-b897-4a71a77c503d
Prenatal Tests: FAQsEvery parent-to-be hopes for a healthy baby, but it can be hard not to worry. Find out what tests can keep you informed of your health — and your baby's — throughout pregnancy.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/prenatal-tests.html/eb018543-49a4-48cd-9ba3-42e027966273
Preparing Your Child for a New SiblingThe arrival of a new baby can cause lots of changes. But parents can prepare kids for an addition to the family.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sibling-prep.html/7a5afc58-2617-4d84-912a-8ca82888fba1
Sleeping During PregnancyCatching enough ZZZs during pregnancy can be difficult for many women. Here's why - plus tips for better sleep.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sleep-during-pregnancy.html/cb7d156a-3104-4a01-9ad6-4f2853740841
Treatments to Prevent Premature BirthSome women are more likely than others to go into labor early. Find out what doctors can do to help prevent or delay early labor. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/treatments-prevent-premature-birth.html/f2af15f4-64cf-45bf-845e-b4c355f0d439
When Your Baby’s Born PrematurePremature infants, known as preemies, come into the world earlier than full-term infants. They have many special needs that make their care different from other babies.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preemies.html/bba322bb-f2ec-4128-a331-b6d97eb4d544
kh:age-NAkh:clinicalDesignation-obgynkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-obgynPreparing for Parenthoodhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pregnancy-center/preparing-parenthood/6ae0bc6b-03df-4bea-9b45-65bbd22295d4