Managing Multiples

Whether you're expecting multiples or navigating life with twins, triplets, or more, you'll appreciate advice on how to survive -- and thrive. Here's what you need to know to get through the stages that lie ahead.

Pregnancy

Start recruiting help now, whether you'll be going back to work or staying home. "Planning for extra help is one of the greatest gifts you can provide for your babies, your other children, your husband, and yourself," says Joan Friedman, PhD, author of Emotionally Healthy Twins.

Many moms-to-be get overwhelmed thinking about the many things that are out of their control. Cathy Swan, of Lexington, Massachusetts, agonized: "Would the babies be okay? Would I deliver early?" But don't worry about what you can't control. Instead, focus on what you can, like your diet, says Nancy Bowers, author of The Multiple Pregnancy Sourcebook. Women of normal prepregnancy weight need about 2,700 calories each day, she says. "They should gain 24 pounds by 24 weeks of pregnancy, then about 1 1/2 pounds each week." Underweight women should aim to gain 45 pounds, and overweight women will want to gain between 20 and 25 pounds. Expecting triplets or more? You'll need to add 5 to 10 pounds extra per additional fetus, depending on your starting weight.

Kacey Batterton, a mother of newborn twin girls in Fort Worth, Texas, worried about getting too big. "People would say, 'You look like you're going to have that baby any day now!'" she says, "and my due date was still months away." Bowers acknowledges it may be hard to ignore unwelcome comments. "But remember that your body is doing this incredible thing -- times two or more."

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