Expectant Parents and Families: FAQ

Twins, triplets and higher-order multiples are much more common today than ever before. Based on current statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, about one in every 35 live born babies is a multiple. As women wait until later in their childbearing years, they are more likely to have multiples. They may naturally become pregnant or, like many women over 30, they may conceive their multiples through assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF.

  1. How is multiple pregnancy different from a singleton pregnancy?
  2. What kind of prenatal care should women with multiple pregnancy receive?
  3. What are the special needs of multiple pregnancies?
  4. What special preparation do we need?
  5. Where can we find special education classes?
  1. How is multiple pregnancy different from a singleton pregnancy? [top]

    Multiple pregnancy is high-risk, with most complications two to three times more likely than for a pregnancy with one baby. Nearly every part of the multiple birth experience is different. Women carrying two or more babies need more calories, higher weight gain, more rest, and more intensive prenatal care. Labor and delivery are more complicated and cesarean birth is much more common. Caring for and raising multiple babies involves much more than changing double sets of diapers!

    Look at the fact sheet "Complications of Multiple Pregnancy"* from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

  2. What kind of prenatal care should women with multiple pregnancy receive? [top]

    Because of the higher risks for twin pregnancies, prenatal care by a physician who is board-certified in obstetrics is recommended. Women with complicated twin pregnancies and those with triplets or more should consult with a perinatologist. This is a board-certified obstetrician who has received additional training in the field of maternal-fetal medicine and provides specialized care for high-risk pregnancies.

    The following links will help you find a listing of obstetricians and perinatologists and information about a physician's qualifications and board certification:

  3. What are the special needs of multiple pregnancies? [top]

    Complications and unexpected situations more likely than with a singleton pregnancy. However, having a high-risk pregnancy doesn’t guarantee a negative experience nor is it a sign of a failure on your part.

    The most common complication of multiple pregnancy is preterm labor and birth. About half of twins and nearly all higher multiples are born before 37 weeks gestation. Because of this, multiple birth babies are more likely to be small. The average twin weighs about 5 1/4 pounds and the average triplet weighs about 3 1/4 pounds.

    Families with multiples also face special challenges. Click to download "Challenges of Parenting Multiples"* from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

  4. What kind of special preparation do we need? [top]

    Knowing problems are more likely encourages you to be more cautious and alert to the warning signs. It also gives you opportunities to reduce the likelihood and the severity of some complications. You can improve the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and babies by making positive changes in your lifestyle and getting the best possible care.

    Expectant parents need to become informed and prepared for the challenges of a high-risk pregnancy and the birth of multiple babies. Your health care provider can talk with you about your specific pregnancy. And, you can find specialized prenatal education that offers tools and resources about multiple pregnancy and birth. See the "Classes"  section of this site.

  5. Where can we find special education classes? [top]

    Marvelous Multiples® has classes for multiple pregnancy all across the United States and in Canada. See our "Class Locator" for a listing of hospitals and programs offering our specialized prenatal education curriculum.

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