Twins and more

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Twins and more

Multiple birth

Being a parent of twins or a further multiple  is a unique and very special experience. Our aim is for you and your family to enjoy the experience through an informed  journey including offering links to community support networks.

If you are a first time parent, it is beneficial that you attend a birth and parenting

class prior  to the multiple births sessions to ensure you have comprehensive understanding of the process of labour and birth.

For further parenting support visit the Tasmanian Multiple Birth Association website or phone 0420 588 805 or website

In the early weeks of any pregnancy hormone levels increase and can produce symptoms  such as nausea and swinging emotions.  These symptoms can be more severe in a multiple pregnancy due to the added hormone  levels. The hormone relaxin which helps to prepare your pelvis for birth may also cause problems with lower  back pain, you may also notice discomfort from extra weight, an increase in lower abdominal and pelvic pressure and tiredness as the pregnancy progresses, all of which can occur in any pregnancy but may be greater in a multiple pregnancy.

It is important to note that women with a multiple pregnancy can be well during this experience. Of consideration though is that women expecting more than one baby are twice  as likely to experience gestational diabetes due to the increased hormones interfering with the body’s ability to process insulin. High blood pressure and a condition called pre-eclampsia can also occur more often in a multiple pregnancy.

On top of the normal schedule of visits and tests, your care will encompass an early blood test for gestational diabetes, additional antenatal visits, further appointments for ultrasounds for fetal growth and wellbeing and fetal heart monitoring.

If your babies are born prior to 36 weeks they are considered premature and may be cared for in the Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (NPICU)  or Special Care Nursery (SCN). A multiple pregnancy has a greater possibility of not reaching 37-38 weeks gestation due to the uterus carrying more than one baby, along with the extra physical demands this brings to the pregnant woman. Most Obstetricians prefer twin pregnancies to deliver by 38 weeks for the wellbeing of both mother and babies.

Whilst in hospital you may be offered support from a Lactation Consultant as feeding more than one baby can offer different challenges than feeding just one baby. How your babies initially feed will often depend on the gestation they are born. If they are not able to breastfeed initially you will be assisted to commence expressing your breast milk as soon as possible.

If your babies are born closer to term (after 36 weeks) and are a good weight and feeding well you may be home within 3 to 5 days after the birth. Support on discharge from  the Maternity Unit as with all parents is our Extended Midwifery Service and the Child Health and Parenting Service. If your babies are in SCN they will have additional follow up appointments made on discharge.

There  is no doubt that parents of multiples may require more assistance in the early days of parenting. It is therefore important to utilize practical support offered from family and friends. If support  is limited consider outsourcing such as childcare when the babies are a little older, a baby sitter for occasional outings or a house cleaner if financially viable. This will allow you to rest and care for yourself, time to spend with older children, and also more time to spend with your babies instead of on household chores. For information on siblings adjusting to new babies in the house visit The Raising Children's Network .

Gentle exercise and a good diet will help you feel well. If you feel you are not coping please ask your  midwife,  GP or Child Health  Nurse  as there is a lot of support  you can access antenatally or in the community  once your babies are born.

Purchasing double  the equipment  can be expensive. Your local multiple birth group will be happy to share information about various types of equipment they have found satisfactory. Please ensure equipment especially if purchased second hand meets Australian safety standards if required.

For further information on these standards visit Product Safety or The Raising Children's Network websites

Practical tips

  • Always have your nappy bag restocked and ready for outings
  • Shop online or have groceries delivered
  • Accept help with daily routines from family/friends
  • Prioritise housework
  • Freezer, microwave and dishwasher are great time savers if this is in the budget
  • Limit visitors but accept help, you don’t want to have to entertain in the early days
  • Connect  with other families of multiples, not only will they show you that life is do-able, they can give you solid advice on how to cope.
  • Sleep when babies sleep, it is a precious commodity
  • Routines are good, but keep it a bit fexible, what works for one baby may not work for the other

Savour the special moments, cuddles,  giggles and smiles. They grow up fast!