Childbirth Preparation Classes for Parents of Twins

Twin Pregnancy Classes for Parents of Twins or More

Childbirth Classes for Moms of Twins. Stockbyte / Getty Images

Childbirth preparation classes are an important part of pregnancy, an opportunity to prepare for the birth of a baby as parents learn about the process of labor and delivery. However, if you are expecting twins, triplets or more, the traditional class may not meet your needs. Luckily there are some alternatives that will prepare you effectively for your situation.

Dont' Wait Or It's Too Late!

Most childbirth classes are scheduled late in the pregnancy, usually during the third trimester.

However, many moms of multiples are classified as high risk during their pregnancy; their pregnancy does not follow the normal course of events resulting in delivery after nine months. They may experience preterm labor and may be put on bed rest, or even deliver their babies prior to the third trimester.

More than half of all twins and nearly all higher order multiples are born before 37 weeks gestation. For that reason, parents of multiples should schedule any childbirth preparation or education earlier. Nancy Bowers director of Marvelous Multiples and author of "The Multiple Pregnancy Sourcebook," advises moms of twins to attend training during their second trimester and encourages moms of triplets or more to schedule a class prior to 20 weeks.

Delivery Details: Getting The Full Picture

Because most childbirth classes are aimed at preparing parents for an unmedicated, uncomplicated singleton delivery, much of the material may not be relevant for parents who are awaiting twins or more.

Because of the inherent risks of complications with multiples, it is less common for mothers to deliver without any anesthesia or medical intervention. Nearly 50% of twins, and almost all higher order multiples, are delivered by cesarean section, a topic that is not addressed by many classes that are focused solely on vaginal deliveries.

That's not to say that such classes aren't worthwhile for parents of multiples. However, many parents of multiples leave the typical childbirth class feeling anxious and ill-prepared for what lies ahead.

Marvelous Multiples

Classes designed just for parents of multiples are available in over 100 locations in the United States and Canada. Marvelous Multiples is a program started by a nurse and mother of multiples, Nancy Bowers. The broader focus of the Marvelous Multiples program encompasses the entire pregnancy experience, including reducing the risk of complications, learning about the signs of preterm labor, improving nutrition, and lifestyle adjustments. Says founder Nancy Bowers, "There are so many factors that we have no control over in a multiple pregnancy, so we focus on the ones that we do have control over and turn these into positives." The class also covers labor and delivery, including vaginal and cesarean birth. Many classes incorporate information about breastfeeding multiples and managing multiple newborns.

Nancy says, "The class helps parents prepare for the emotional and physical demands or more than one newborn, with topics such as sleep deprivation, managing helpers and practical equipment." Many classes conclude with a question and answer session featuring veteran parents of twins or more. In addition to the curriculum developed by Marvelous Multiples, hospitals and childbirth educators are responding to the rise in multiple births and the demand for information from parents of multiples. Many sponsor their own classes designed just for families with multiples. If Marvelous Multiples classes are not accessible in your area, check with your local hospital or Mothers of Multiples clubs to see what other resources are available. Or, consider buddying up with other expectant families of multiples to schedule a private session with a childbirth educator who can address your needs.

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