The positive pregnancy test left you spinning with excitement, but the scan that showed you were carrying three babies probably left you spinning in a very different way….
You’re expecting triplets. While that means three times the cuteness, you may also be thinking of three times the stretchmarks, three times the labour effort. And let’s not go near the prospect of nightfeeds.
Add in the strong possibility that you don’t know anyone else who’s had triplets (and, no, Phoebe of Friends fame doesn’t count), and you may be in the middle of a-never-bargained-for-this meltdown.
But the human body is amazing and it’ll surprise with how it adjusts – and expands – to house your little ones.
Getting to grips with triplets
Around 200 sets of triplets are born in the UK each year, so rest assured that lots of women have been through a triple pregnancy before and had three beautiful and healthy babies.
Your babies are most likely to be non-identical (three separate eggs fertilised by three sperms at the same time), as identical triplets, from one egg split into three, are very rare. If you can’t tell by looks alone, once your babies are here, you can find out with a DNA test on your placenta.
What to expect during your pregnancy
Being pregnant with triplets is classed as a high-risk pregnancy. However, you’ll be assigned to a consultant obstetrician who will monitor you very closely throughout your pregnancy so you’ll be in safe hands at all times.
‘Try to take it easy – you’ll probably find you tire quickly and need to stop work sooner than if you were carrying one baby,’ says Sandra Bosman, midwifery consultant for the Twins and Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA). ‘High blood pressure, diabetes and premature labour are all possibilities, but taking care of yourself will help prevent this developing.’
When your due date approaches, if one or more of your babies doesn’t seem to be thriving, your doctor may induce labour.
And, as you might expect, you’ll look like you’re expecting triplets.
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What to expect during labour
Most triplets are delivered at around 34 weeks, so it’s sensible to get your hospital bags (yep, plural, or mahoosive, in this case) packed a few weeks before this so you’re ready when you’re babies are.
‘You’ll probably have to stay in hospital for longer than usual,’ Sandra explains. ‘And it also means you have over a 50 per cent chance of having a caesarean. Your first baby may be born vaginally but if the others get distressed then you might need a c-section.’
Your triplets will probably be born very small and may have some trouble breathing. If this is the case, they’ll need to stay in an intensive care unit until they are strong enough to look after themselves.
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What to expect when the triplets arrive
Being a mum to three babies will be extremely time consuming and exhausting – so, rest whenever you can. ‘A routine and good organisation skills are essential,’ advises Sandra. ‘Prioritise things that are essential.’
Try to feed your babies at the same time so that they start to synchronise – even if that means waking one or two of them up. If you would like to breastfeed, you can – you breasts will respond to the feeding and keep producing milk until all three of your little ones are full.
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Support available for you
Look for multiple and triplet groups in your area, to swap stories with and vent to other parents about things that only a mum of multiples understands. TAMBA is a fantastic online resource which you can use to chat with experts and receive advice.
Having triplets will probably be the most trying and tiresome thing you’ve ever done – or will ever do – in your life.
But the rewards are endless and very few people can say that they have triplets. It’s definitely a unique parenting experience.