Can you exercise during a triplet pregnancy? This might surprise you.

exercise during a triplet pregnancy

Pregnancies are about as individual an experience as they come, whether you are carrying one, or more babies. There are a number of factors that dictate how much exercise, if any, a woman can undertake during her pregnancy, and they aren’t always factors within our control. This article is designed to help answer some common questions that are asked by women about whether you can exercise during a triplet pregnancy, but please, please, please discuss your individual circumstances with a trained health professional. This information is general in nature and should not be used as medical advice. There are a few risks associated with exercising during pregnancy, but there are also some wonderful benefits as well.

When considering an exercise routine during any pregnancy, it’s important to ask yourself what your intention is behind doing the exercise. Women exercise for a variety of reasons, including, but limited to;

  • Looking after your mental health;
  • The acute rehabilitation or long-term management phase of an injury;
  • Managing weight;
  • Social interaction;
  • Training for competitive sports; and
  • General strength, fitness and conditioning for optimizing performance in work related or lifestyle activities.

These are all noble reasons for having a regular exercise routine and being pregnant doesn’t mean you should give up our goals. You will probably find, however, that adjustments need to be made while you are pregnant in order to fulfill your intentions whilst doing what’s best for your body and your babies.

Whatever your intention is, understand that for the duration of your pregnancy and the following period of caring for one or multiple newborns, your priorities will be different to what they were prior to falling pregnant. You are now responsible for not only your health, but the health of you babies. If your goal is to get your pre-pregnancy body back as soon as possible or to gain as little weight as possible while pregnant, you might want to take stock of the reasons behind that pressure being placed on you. Is might be unrealistic expectations of your partner, peer pressure from a competitive friendship group or comparing yourself to celebrities you may have seen in tabloids. It’s important to remember that your body is undergoing massive transformation and doing amazing things. Be gentle with yourself and accept that bouncing back will take time.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to exercise during a triplet pregnancy (or any pregnancy for that matter), is that you don’t start an exercise routine that you weren’t doing beforehand. If you didn’t go running before getting pregnant, now isn’t the time to start. If you weren’t lifting weights beforehand, stay out of the squat rack for now. You have a lot of life ahead of you to get into those activities, but now isn’t the right time! If you weren’t doing any exercise before your pregnancy and want to get started with something, go for a gentler activity like swimming or work with an accredited health professional such as an exercise physiologist. They can help you with strength and mobility training in a safe way while you are pregnant.

exercising while pregnant with triplets

What precautions should be taken during a triplet pregnancy?

Exercising during a triplet pregnancy must involve talking to you doctor. Everyone’s circumstances are unique and your doctor will consider things like:

  • Your current fitness level, age and lifestyle;
  • Your past history with pregnancies and/or pregnancy loss;
  • Factors relating to the types of triplets you’re carrying that may affect the risk of complications.

Pregnancy isn’t the time to take on new physical challenges or push yourself in the gym, so it’s important to view your exercise as something to help you in your pregnancy, rather than something you want to do in spite of your pregnancy. The mental health benefits of exercise can be greatly beneficial during a triplet pregnancy and activities like swimming can feel sensational to take the load off for a bit and enjoy the buoyancy of the water! Pelvic floor strengthening work like Pilates and gentle resistance training may also alleviate back pain and help in recovery from your pregnancy when it comes to bladder weakness.

What are the main risks associated with exercise during a triplet pregnancy?

The main risks associated with exercise during pregnancy include:

  • Fatigue is a common symptom in pregnancy but it comes with a side of Absolute Exhaustion during a multiple pregnancy. It’s important to listen to your body and rest when you need to. Being rigid about “to-do” lists, exercise schedules and work deadlines can really take its’ toll.
  • During pregnancy, the body produces hormones called relaxin and progesterone, which make the tendons and muscles more stretchy than normal. The idea behind this is that your body needs to shift things around to make room for growing babies and eventually childbirth – pretty clever, huh? It’s important to understand this because it also means that the connective tissues that normally stabilize your joints during exercise with me more relaxed as well and therefore your joints will be more mobile and vulnerable to injury. In a triplet pregnancy, there are more of these hormones present and the joints will be even looser.
  • The enormity of your pregnant triplet belly means your abdominal muscles have to separate in order to allow for expansion. The rectus abdominus (basically your deep seated six pack) separates down the middle to make room for your growing babies. The flip side of this is that your core stabilization is affected significantly as your trunk pulls apart, making you more prone to a back injury.
  • Placentas, amniotic fluid and the actual development of multiple tiny humans growing inside your abdomen means your center of gravity is thrown way off as your pregnancy progresses. Not only can this affect balance, but it also places a lot of extra load on your lower back. Back pain is pretty common in single pregnancies and more prevalent when carrying multiples.
  • Lying on your back for an extended period is discouraged during pregnancy, as it can obstruct blood flow to the fetus. During a multiple pregnancy, this is much more critical, so the position you are in during exercise may need to be modified.

When should I stop working out with triplets?

The biggest risk for most HOM (Higher Order Multiple) pregnancies is the increased likelihood of preterm labor. As your babies grow and begin to compete for space and put pressure on your body, every day physical tasks will become increasingly difficult. It’s important to keep the conversation open with your doctor about what sort of exercise you’re doing. Activities such as Pilates and swimming can actually become increasingly enjoyable in those later stages of your pregnancy as they can ease lower back pain. Water based activities are particularly good for that temporary feeling of weightlessness! Some women experience additional complications such as having a shorter cervix, early cervical dilation or infection, which may mean the risk of preterm labor is higher. Bed rest is not commonly prescribed these days, like it was in the past, but if you are at increased risk of early labor, you may be told to limit physical activity. The volume of blood in your body increases as your pregnancy progresses as well, which can leave you feeling breathless as your heart works hard to move that blood around your body. It’s normal to get puffed out more easily, so be mindful not to over do it!

Do you burn more calories when pregnant with triplets?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women consume an extra 300 calories per baby they are carrying. This increases to 450 calories per day by the third trimester. It’s common for women pregnant with triplets to be ravenously hungry (when they’re not experiencing nausea!) as their metabolism works hard growing those extra humans! The main thing to remember is that all calories aren’t created equal. Be sure to include plenty of vegetables and protein in your diet and especially foods rich in folate, zinc and iron. Your developing babies are completely dependent on your for their nutritional needs, so try to make good choices.

can you exercise during a triplet pregnancy

Running while pregnant with triplets

There are women who are able to run throughout their entire pregnancies or for a good portion of their pregnancy. It’s not the case for all women and the women who do manage to continue running are generally seasoned runners prior to becoming pregnant. Running when pregnant with triplets, however, is not usually advised, for all the reasons we mentioned above. If you are a dedicated runner and are getting twitchy at the idea of not hitting the pavement, you may need to drop back to a walk or swap out your miles for laps of the pool instead. Remind yourself that it’s temporary.

What are the best baby gifts for triplets?

best baby gifts for triplets

There are few occasions I love to buy gifts for than the arrival, or anticipated arrival of a tiny human. However, when that tiny human becomes two, three or even more babies at once, it becomes so much more complicated! There are certain practicalities that need to be considered, the temptation of buying matching sets of clothing and some specific products that are seemingly invisible to most new parents, but can make a life altering difference when used by parents of multiples! I’d like to draw your attention to some of these considerations, to help you give the most appreciated gifts possible. Based on my own lived experience, I’ve put together some tips on buying the best baby gifts for triplets.

There are a few distinct categories of gift givers when it comes to baby presents. I find we sometimes drift from one category to another depending on our life stage and personal circumstances. Read on and see if you recognize any of them in yourself or in people you know!

The 6 Types of Baby Present Gift Givers

1. The Practical Gifter

This is often someone who has already has babies of their own and clearly remembers (or is still living in) the chaos. They opt for big boxes of nappies, wet wipes and plain, yet quality singlets or grow suits. They realize your babies will spend such a small window of time in the tiny sizes of clothing that its’ not worth spending loads on fancy outfits and their clothes will probably be covered in nappy leakage, milk spit up or swaddled in a muslin wrap most pf the time anyway! These folk are the ones most likely to drop a cooked meal at your house in the first weeks after coming home from hospital, too.

2. The Well Meaning, but Impractical Gifter

I hope this doesn’t come across as ungrateful because it isn’t intended to be. This gift giver has the best of intentions with the presents they give, but it’s usually the most beautiful outfits that the babies will never wear. The outfits with lots of buttons, hats and even tiny shoes (although they are for humans who cannot walk); The outfits that would take patience and persistence to dress even one newborn baby in because of the fiddly nature of it’s design. Trying to to change the poop-leaking nappy of a wriggling, uncooperative baby in a button up shirt with dungarees over the top is an experience you only attempt once; The outfits that require ironing. You get my point. These gorgeous outfits might make for a beautiful photo shoot, but the reality of having triplets is that you just don’t have enough time!

On this note, decorations for the nursery can be problematic. Once triplets are born, there is little time for hanging pictures, taking plaster casts of hand and feet or crafty scrap booking to record the first time the babies roll over or their first teeth. If you want to gift something like this, consider also offering to help with it. For a keepsake scrap booking project, you could offer to beautifully record everything for the first 12 months so all the parents have to do is send you a text and a quick photo from their phone! A photo shoot could also include your time to assist with changing, settling and feeding babies during the session. We had a plan for how we wanted our nursery to look, and knowing this would be our only pregnancy and with limited space (due to 3 cots in the room), we had carefully selected some pictures that we wanted on our nursery walls. We then received several gifts (some from friends of my parents – people I’d actually never met) of lovingly embroidered artworks to be hung on the wall. I felt pressured to hang them up so as not to offend anyone and I genuinely appreciated the gesture. The problem was that we sacrificed having the baby nursery as I’d always imagined it because we had to hang what other people thought we should put on the walls.

3. The Self Care Gifter

This is the gift giver who focuses on the parents. It’s a dinner voucher, a massage voucher or a nice bottle of wine. If this style of gift resonates with you, please do me a favor and always couple that gift with the offer of babysitting. Parents of multiples find it harder to ask for someone to babysit that parents of a single baby, because it feels like so much more of an imposition when there are lots of babies. This really sucks because it’s the parents of triplets or more who probably need a few hours off more than anyone! I’ve found a good way to make everyone more comfortable with this arrangement is to buddy up with someone. For example, “This dinner voucher is from both of us. We will both come over to your place when you decide to book and babysit the triplets together so we can help each other out.” It’s important to give new parents a nudge too. Whether it’s feeling overprotective or just being too exhausted on the hamster wheel of life to actually book a night out, you might need to encourage your recipient to lock something in.

best baby gifts for triplets

4. The Multiple Birth Frother

There are some people (my own mother included) whose eyes light up at the opportunity to buy gifts for multiples! The temptation to buying matching sets of clothes, toys or color coordinated bibs definitely gets people excited. Just a couple of words of advice, if this is you…
When it comes to matching outfits, suss out the parents to find out how they feel about it. Some parents of multiples absolutely love dressing their children the same, whereas others make a decision to deliberately dress them differently. If the parents feel strongly about it one way or another, you can buy presents that you know will be appreciated and used just as you hope they will be! If you know the sexes of the babies, this also makes gift buying easier. Consider staying away from the stereotypical pink and blue gender assigned items – this tends to be intensified with multiple births of different sexes. Try colors like orange, aqua, green and red for something different!

5. The Personalized Gifter.

These gifts are actually my favorite ones and are the gifts that have me thinking about the person that gave them to us every time I use them. It’s simple items like nice fluffy bath towels, cushion covers or individual cutlery sets that have the babies’ names on them, whether it’s embroidered, printed or engraved. The extra effort that goes into getting those items customized means so much. There is something really special about seeing your child’s name on things when you’re a new parent. Just make sure you get the spelling correct! A really lovely idea, if you want to get something for the parents, that will get enjoyed for years is a personalized /engraved cheese board. My partners’ work colleagues bought us a beautiful stainless steel carving tray and had a personal message engrave around the rim to the effect of “Commemorating the births of J, B and E. From your friends at ***********.” It’s a lovely gesture that we see whenever we eat a roast dinner and our children (now 10) ask us about it.

6. The Gift Registry Lover

If there’s going to be a proper baby shower event, it’s a really good idea to create a gift registry. I felt really uncomfortable having a gift registry at first as it felt greedy (I never had a wedding, but I imagine it’s a similar feeling for wedding gift registers too). As my sister explained to me though, people are going to buy gifts anyway and they WANT to buy things that are needed and appreciated. People don’t have to buy off the gift register, but it does help people who aren’t sure what to buy and it reduced the chance of people buying something you already have or something unsuitable that needs to be changed.

The key to a good gift register is to cater to all budgets. Have plenty of small items such as bottles, nappies, pacifiers and wipes for people who have a smaller budget (after all, it can be a costly baby shower when there are three or more babies to buy for) as well as plenty of mid range items (under $100). It’s also okay to include a few big ticket items as you may have friends or family who opt to join forces and chip in to buy a larger gift together.

If you’re the one looking through a gift register to buy a gift and there’s nothing there you want to buy, ask yourself why not? If it’s because everything is out of your budget, consider asking someone to go in a joint present with you. If it’s because nothing on the list seems fun and it’s all just so practical and impersonal, consider how you can personalize an item off the list (as mentioned before). The simple embroidery of an initial on a cot blanket can make a huge difference. What about a few heartfelt messages of support and encouragement tucked between nappies for when they’re fished out of the box in the wee hours of the morning?

7. The “Tell Me What You Want” Gifter

This is the Practical Gifter, but even more direct. The best kind of Tell-Me-What-You-Want-er is the one that says, “I’m just going to wait until after the babies are born and you get a feel for what you think you need.” Whether it’s a breastfeeding pillow, a motorized swing to help with settling, or a nappy bin with a pedal for when your hands are full, sometimes you don’t know what you need until you need it! They don’t want to waste time, money or energy on something that won’t get used. It might mean their gift is less cute, less pretty or less sentimental, but you can be sure it’s going to be meaningful!

best gifts for triplet babies

The Best Baby Gifts for Triplets

When you have newborn triplets, the main thing to consider is efficiency. Efficiency of time, of space, of money. Because let’s face it – it’s a lot.

Most expectant mothers have a plan for whether they intend to breastfeed or not. I think we all understand that breastfeeding doesn’t always go to plan, especially when you’re talking about multiple (and likely premature) babies. Products such as twin breastfeeding pillows, breast pumps, bottle sterilizers or even a voucher for a great store that specializes in bras could be a really practical gift for a triplet mom. These are probably gifts that are best coming from someone who is pretty close to the recipient, and maybe warrant a conversation first to make sure you’re on the right page. Some new mothers of multiples find the idea of breastfeeding three or more babies too overwhelming and have already made the decision to express breast milk and/or use formula right from the start. Each mom’s experience with breastfeeding is unique and while some specialized gear can make whatever option they decide to go for a lot easier, it can be a pretty personal topic.

When it comes to baby clothes, go for simplicity, rather than the cutest looking item on the shelf. A parent of triplets needs clothes than are as easy to put on and off as possible! Press studs, snap-crotches and machine washable is key. Steer clear of fiddly buttons and things that need to go over the baby’s head or require hand washing!

There are certain baby products that are on most expectant mother’s wish list as essential, but just don’t work for parents of triplets. My favorite example is the nappy bag. You know, the compartmentalized “baby bag” that holds a few essentials and is either slung over mom’s shoulder or tucked underneath the pram? It’s not unusual to see these in the baby stores in designer brands for several hundred dollars. When it comes to going anywhere with three or more babies, this style of bag just doesn’t cut it. A good backpack is what works best. Hands free, lots of compartments and plenty of room inside!

Everything you need to know about types of triplets and higher order multiple pregnancies.

different types of triplets

Triplet pregnancies can come in a few combinations of shared embryonic sacs, shared placentas, identical, fraternal etc. The types of triplets you are carrying can affect the likelihood of experiencing complications during your pregnancy. Triplet pregnancies in themselves are pretty rare. Recent (2020) figures from the CDC show a triplet or higher order birth rate of 79.6 per 100,000 live births. Higher Order Multiples (HOMs) is a term used to describe triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets and more.

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