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Tips and things I learned along the way- helpful for others who are pregnant with twins

1) Don’t worry about gaining too much weight early on. It is actually helpful as later on it may get harder to gain weight because the stomach is literally crammed and you may not be able to eat as much.

2) Take people’s advice with a grain of salt. Some pregnancy advice is universal regardless of the number of babies one is carrying, but multiples means new rules from things like calorie intake, exercise, amount of rest, nutrient needs, how long one can keep working, bedrest, and more. You’re well meaning friends, family, co-workers and neighbors advice may just not apply when it comes to multiples.

3) Take people’s freak-outs with a grain of salt. My petite family couldn’t believe that I really am supposed to gain between 40 and 60  pounds and expressed a lot of opinions contradicting this in spite of the fact that my doctor, the pregnancy books, the internet, and basically the medical establishment confirm it.  You will get bigger than a woman with a singleton pregnancy, and you will show earlier and be bigger earlier. I’m 4.5 months and look like I’m at least 6 mos. You may get looks from your family and neighbors shaking their heads thinking you are gaining too fast, but really, what do they know about healthy twin pregnancies!?!

4) Buy these early on so that you have them in the house when you need them:

extra prenatal vitamins so you don’t have to run out when you run out of them

acetominophen for fever and sparingly for pain

tums or the generic equivalent for heartburn, acid reflux, and calcium supplementation

pantiliners

extra pillows if you don’t own a lot, buy more. You will be propping yourself up to sleep, to sit in a chair, to prop up your feet, etc. These pillows will come in handy later if you have out of town helpers staying with you and eventually when your kids have beds and pillows of their own.

Portable cushion– comes in handy in restaurants where they have hard wooden chairs and can double as a back cushion.

Bra extenders– buy a minimum of 2, but 4 is better. You can save yourself money by using these instead of buying new bras everytime you outgrow your old ones. You will likely find that after you use 1, you next need to use 2 at a time. It is handy to have more than 2 extenders so that you don’t have to wash these out every night.

comfy, easy to put on shoes with a little room to grow- for ex. sandals with elastic straps so when your feet swell or ligaments loosen they still fit. Also it will get hard to bend over so your tie or buckle shoes will be quick to go by the wayside.

larger cotton underwear, at least 1 size bigger (2 or 3 sizes is even better as you can wear them a little lose and will get more use out of them.) than what you were wearing pre-pregnancy, ones that don’t have tight elastic or that rest below the belly are ideal. (they need not be maternity underwear.) I grew out of underwear like an adolescent boys outgrows shoes. I ended up wearing a size more than double my pre-pregnancy size. Briefs are surprisingly comfy. Avoid ones where the elastic falls in the creases of the hips and un der your babybump. This gets painfully tight when sitting!

Larger clothing- It’s helpful to have some in advance so you aren’t left with nothing to wear.   I had about a week where I realized I had only 1 pair of pants that fit, maternity sweats I got on freecycle, and the weather was warming up. Maternity clothes are expensive- you may luck out as I did and get some hand-me-downs, but if not or if you need more try: freecycle, thrift or consignment stores, and your husband/boyfriends closet. Remember that at least initially you don’t necessarily need maternity clothes, larger sized clothes, elastic waistbands, etc. will work until your belly gets really big.

Dresses!!!! and nightgowns– you will grow out of these much more slowly than skirts, shorts, or pants, if at all, and there is nothing to bind at the waist or hip creases when sitting. If I’d known this before I wouldn’t have bought any skirts, shorts, or pants. Dresses are much more comfortable and when you get really big toward the end, they are literally all you can wear.

belly lube– my doctor suggested petroleum jelly as an inexpensive way to lube your skin in hopes of reducing stretch marks. I’m an Arbonne lady and know the ills of petroleum based personal care products. Instead I bought Alba’s unpetroleum. It seemed to work really well. Where I put it, no stretch marks ( so far anyway) where I didn’t think to, stretch marks! My doctor suggested to lube from the boobs down to the mid thigh. I suggest doing upper arms and chest up to the neck too as I’ve gotten non-pregnancy related stretch marks there. Cocoa butter and various oils are fine, too. Basically no product prevents them, but if skin is well moisturized it  tends to minimize marks.

A massage tool of some sort. I like the little wood or plastic things with round knobs on them that provide accupressure. It will save your partner’s fingers and allow for longer and more frequent massaging.

a stepstool– reaching into high cabinets is a no-no and at some point impossible, so having a small step stool in the kitchen, etc. will keep you from pulling something.

water filter- saves money over bottled and you really do want to drink filtered over tap water

fan- you will get hot more easilythis can be used in baby’s room later as air circulation is supposed to decrease the risk of SIDS.

easy to grab healthy snacks– cheese, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, baby carrots, cereal, juice and milk boxes, etc. Crystalized ginger candies are also helpful to have on hand for nausea.

pregnancy bracelet– well even if you don’t know me, you can probably gather that I’m the worrywart type. I wanted one of those pregnancy bracelets early on in case I was in a car accident so the medics would know I’m pregnant and not give me steroids, or anything that could harm the baby. Between not liking what was available on line and also wanting them to know that there are TWO babies in there, I decided to make my own. My very rough prototype ( I didn’t even draw out the letters so it is a very rough example indeed!) is what I’ve been wearing especially when I’m in the car. I was thinking about making these for sale for $10 a piece, so if you are interested, please send me a message and as long as the timing doesn’t coincide with the first crazy months of raising twins, I’d be happy to make one for you. They are adjustable, comfortable, and durable. (See the picture on my photos page.)

5) MAKE YOUR PARTNER GO WITH YOU TO YOUR FIRST ULTRASOUND– unless of course you want nothing to do with your partner, but otherwise this is really important. If things look good, he’ll really be missing out on an exciting , joyous moment, and if things don’t look good you’ll want his/her support. I asked mine to come to all my early or important ultrsounds, such as the first, the genetic ultrasound screening, and the anatomical.  Once we got to the point where they were to be once a month (into the 2nd trimester) he skipped a couple.

6) Once you know you’re having twins, be sure to tell the appt. setter whenever you schedule an ultrasound as they will need to reserve 2 back-to-back time slots for you, one for each baby.

7) be good and elevate your feet daily, and in hot weather,  everytime you sit

8 ) To  make it easier to get the 12 glasses of water per day, I filled a pitcher with an 8 oz. cup and counted how many glasses it held. In the morning I filled up the pitcher and when it was empty I knew how much I had drank. Counting whatever few glasses may be left was a cinch. Without the pitcher I always lost track of how many glasses I had, had.

9) try to take 20 minute walks in the beginning. You will find that this becomes harder. Do (2) 10 minute walks if you need to. Once you feel you just can’t keep this up, stop. Listen to your body and take a break from the exercise. At some point you or your doctor will decide no more exercise, I found I came to that conclusion before my doctor dictated it, so trust your instincts. If you cannot talk and walk, you should stop to catch your breath as that’s a sign that your heartrate is too high.

10) Find and join a local multiples club– they are an awesome source of information and neat stuff like consignment sales, big sister mentors, help once the babies come,etc.

11) Books I found especially helpful:

Baby Bargains

Mothering Multiples

12) Classes I found helpful

Infant care

Infant/child CPR

13) Accept the following pregnancy truths to be inevitable

* you will get stretch marks

* toward the end especially, you will have heartburn so bad it will hurt to drink water; when you sit up from a reclined position, you will burp

*you will experience untimely gas

* your nose will bleed making your bathroom look like Sweeney Todd just left it

*strangers will only really be nicer to you when you look like your going to pop. (I can’t tell you how many people let/expected? me to open the door for them!! I even had a guy cut in front of me to the unisex bathroom in a store at 8.5 mos. pregnant! But at 8.5 mos. pregnant he apologized afterward, at 6 mos. I doubt he would have.)

*you will spend more than you planned to on babystuff, and  you will get less than you expect from your registry(ies)

14) Things you won’t read in a book:

Showering gets challenging. I could wash my feet, but not my legs. It gets hard to reach various places.

Peeing late in pregnancy gets interesting for that reason too. Also linger a bit as your urine has to travel this pinball machine like maize to come out.

During the third trimester you may consider yourself lucky if:

*you are not on bedrest

* you can still climb stairs, however slowly and however winded it may make you

*anyone offers you pre-delivery help- say YES!




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