Pregnant With Multiples? 7 Signs You'll Do Just Fine
Hearing more than one heartbeat on an ultrasound for the first time must be a shocker. For a mom who learns she's carrying multiples, that shock probably comes along with a ton of questions and concerns... like, um, can I do this?! Good news: Experts say there are signs that you'll handle being pregnant with multiples like a total pro.
It's true that carrying multiple children at once comes with an increased risk for certain pregnancy complications, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Complications such as preeclampsia can occur earlier in pregnancies with multiples and can be more severe than in singleton births, per the ACOG. Women with a multiples pregnancy are also at higher risk of premature labor, and overall you'll probably be spending a little more time seeing your healthcare practitioner: Multiple pregnancies often require more frequent prenatal care visits.
Fortunately, not only will your body expand more to accommodate multiple babies, but plenty of women do it — in fact, the multiples birth rate is on the rise. It's totally normal to have some concerns with any kind of pregnancy; let our experts give you seven positive indicators you're going to handle it just fine....
1. You Have A Flexible Personality
Dr. Michael Cackovic, a maternal fetal medicine physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Romper that flexibility is a key trait for moms carrying multiples. "A multiple pregnancy has more birthweight, more placenta volume, an increased risk of preeclampsia and increased risk of preterm birth," he says. "Understanding that these often mean more visits, more labs and more surveillance is key and essential."
2. You Know How To Ask For What You Need
Jessica Diggs, lead pregnancy educator at LOOM, a pregnancy and women's health center in Los Angeles, agrees that the ability "surrender to the unknown" when carrying multiples is important in many ways due to the complexity of birthing multiples. However, she adds that, above and beyond a flexible mindset, being able speak up when you needs will make your journey smoother. "Ask yourself what are your needs and be mindful of those things as you plan out your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum shift," she says.
3. You Have A Strong Support System
Caring for more than one baby at a time is no easy feat. Just ask the mom who reportedly turned off the wifi when her husband "camped" in the bathroom instead of helping care for their babies. Diggs tells Romper that women should spend time thinking about what they need for their overall well-being and that "for the postpartum period, that will always mean more hands on deck."
Above and beyond having help once your babies are born, experts say that having a strong support system during pregnancy can help moms handle the stress of carrying multiples better.
4. You Have A Solid Relationship With Your Doctor
Depending on your previous pregnancy history, you might already have a standing relationship with a care provider. However, a pregnancy with multiples could mean that you need a doctor with specific experience delivering multiple babies.
Dr. Cackovic tells Romper it's important to find a doctor comfortable with both options for delivering multiples. "Often moms are told at the beginning of their pregnancy that they will have to have a C-section," he says. This will depend on your medical needs and history, but ultimately you and your doctor should work together to make the best decisions for you and your babies. The importance of "trust and a good rapport with your doctor can’t be overstated," he says.
5. You Haven't Had Previous Pregnancy Complications
Although you can definitely manage pregnancy complications with proper care from your doctor, women without a history of pregnancy complications may have an easier time carrying multiples. "Some complications in a singleton pregnancy may be more pronounced in multiples, such as preterm labor and preeclampsia," Dr. Cackovic says. "Almost any prior history of anything will increase that risk in a subsequent pregnancy."
Your doctor should be able to guide you through potential complications and provide extra care for women who may be at an increased risk of problems. A history of preterm birth, for example, might be a warning flag for a multiple pregnancy, he says. "Early discussion with your doctor is important."
6. You Value Self-Care
Diggs encourages all pregnant people carrying twins to prioritize taking care of themselves. She adds that the physical, mental, and emotional sacrifice to grow multiple people is "just plain hard." Do something each day for yourself, she says. Whether that's a bubble bath or jamming out to your favorite song in the car is totally up to you, but valuing self-care is key.
Although Diggs speaks specifically about twin pregnancy, self care is crucial to any pregnancy. "Shifting the focus back onto the pregnant person in a positive light can do wonders for their mental health and sanity during a twin pregnancy," she says.
7. Your Womb Has Multiple Babies In It
That's right — if you already have multiple babies in your body, your body knows what to do to handle it well. Dr. Cackovic tells Romper that "it’s hard to pinpoint a perfect candidate to carry multiples," and Diggs agrees.
"To say that a person based off some physical trait would have an 'easier' time, would be to oversimplify the complexity of pregnancy that keeps me in awe as a birth worker," Diggs says. She explains that women carrying multiples tend to wonder how their bodies will grow and change to accommodate the additional babies, but the short answer is that your body will make the room.
"Our culture likes to project the idea that certain kinds of bodies are better than others, but in reality all bodies are brilliant and unique and often equipped for far more than we imagine," Diggs says. To handle the physical struggles of multiples in pregnancy, she recommends a combination of body work like massages, chiropractic care, floating, and rest.