So, you want to give birth naturally? Wonderful! The benefits of a natural, unmedicated birth affect not only your baby, but you as well. In general, natural births boast of faster recovery rates for mom, and an easier time starting breastfeeding for mom and baby. Naturally born babies are more alert at birth and often are calmer.
However, there is more to giving birth naturally than showing up to the hospital in labor, or calling your midwife for your home birth. The more preparation that you do before hand, the more likely you are to successfully give birth naturally.
I'm starting a weekly series on twin (and other multiple pregnancy) tips, hints, and helpful advice. Our first installment is my top ten tips for a healthy twin pregnancy.
- Select a health care provider that you trust, are in synch with and are willing to work with. I went into my twin pregnancy assuming I'd have a low risk singleton pregnancy, and planned on seeing my doctor as little as possible! After all, this was to be my fifth baby! Twins change everything! Thankfully I had chosen a doctor that I liked and trusted, because I saw A LOT of him! I also spoke with his nurses a lot on the phone, so a helpful staff is a plus as well.I found out I was expecting twins at 23 weeks and I began biweekly visits at that time. From 30 weeks on I saw the doctor weekly. Frankly, I enjoyed making sure my babies were growing well and were on track, and once I was on bed rest, I was thankful for the chance to get out of the house!
- Be prepared for some form of bedrest. Some MOMs (Mothers of Multiples) are able to skate by their entire pregnancy while working full time or juggling other responsibilities, but most have some form of bedrest. My doctor told me from the outset that his policy is standard modified bedrest once a MOM measures full term. For me this was 28 weeks. Quite frankly, as I was measuring full term and still had a full ten weeks of pregnancy to go, I was thankful to be off my feet. I also had a few weeks to prepare and make arrangements. I used my bedrest time as a time to relax before the roller coaster of newborn twins, and I took the time to learn Photoshop, which I would have never taken the time to do otherwise!
- Read up on life with twins, but avoid the horror stories if you can! After had my girls I ran into website after website telling me all of the things that could have gone wrong and I am so glad I did not see them when I was still pregnant and worrying every day!
- Talk to other MOMs. Get advice, swap pregnancy stories, and snag some hand me down twin gear! Most MOMs love to share all of these things!
- Take lots of pictures, of you. Yes you...with that big old belly. You know, the belly that even sticks out of maternity clothing ...yep that one! Your kids will thank you for it some day!
- Drink lots of water. The water will calm your uterus, which tends to be more irritable during multiple pregnancies, and it will keep you comfortable and hydrated. I felt like I could never stay fully hydrated during my twin pregnancy!
- Eat high calorie foods! A twin pregnancy requires about 3000 calories a day! This sounds like heaven until you realize how little space your stomach has left, and how many things give you heartburn and reflux. Now is the time to indulge in milkshakes and ice cream. (However, avoid overly fatty foods, or you may end up in the hospital with a gall bladder attack like I did!)
- Don't buy a lot of maternity clothes. Trust me, they aren't going to fit. Sadly, they are meant for people carrying one baby at a time. I invested in some pajamas and one or two outfits for going out in. However, even though I spent a lot of time in yoga pants and pajamas, I tried to do my hair and make-up most days. It is hard to feel pretty when you are so big, but you do what you can.
- Get out and pamper yourself at least one time before the babies are born. I had a manicure and pedicure about two weeks before the babies came, and a haircut the day before my induction. The babies are six months old now, and that is the last time I did either of those things...which reminds me...I'm due for some pampering!
- ENJOY THIS TIME! I know that it feels very overwhelming to know that there are two or more babies growing inside of you, but you are truly participating in a miracle! The payoff is so worth it! Let people spoil you, because they will want to!