Should I dress my triplets the same?

should i dress my triplets the same

There are some things we’re taught not to bring up in conversation unless we know people very well. Religion, politics, views on vaccination (that wasn’t on my radar until the last couple of years!) You know the topics the rules around bringing them up. I’d like to offer a piece of friendly advice and throw another one in the mix when you’re talking to parents of twins or more. Unless you enjoy debating or aren’t worried about offending people, do not under any circumstances mention your views on dressing twins or triplets in matching outfits!

I’ll happily share my own views here and the reasons behind them, because I recently had an expectant triplet mom send me the question “Should I dress my triplets the same?”. Please know, however, that while I may sit firmly on one side of the fence, we are all different. You do you.

My own experience being dressed the same as my sister:

I am three and a half years younger than my sister. We are, and always have been polar opposites. She’s the girliest girl you ever did meet and grew up playing with dolls and makeup. I wore a toy gun on my hip, played with ninja turtles and loved dinosaurs. Despite our different personalities and preferences, our mother dressed us the same A LOT, and always if we were going out somewhere for an occasion or where a photo might be taken. There were totally identical outfits, such as dresses (much to my tomboyish dismay) or sometimes we wore the same outfit, but in different colours. My sister usually got pink if it was an option, and I had the same ensemble in orange or green.

My sister also disliked being dressed the same and increasingly so as she hit the preteen years and cringed at being matched with her annoying younger sibling (oh, and I was so annoying!). Her protests must have finally made an effect as the practice seemed to fade out around the time she hit high school.

As the younger sibling, I copped an extra irritating blow from the matching outfits obsession. Not only did I have the first round of wearing the same as my sister, but then I also got her hand me downs, so had the monotony of the same outfit for twice as long!

To give credit to my mum where it’s due, as I progressed through my teenage years, she was pretty supportive of letting me make my own clothes choices. My fashion sense definitely didn’t align with hers, but she willingly agreed to take me to buy my first pair of Doc Marten boots! My sister and I tease her to this day about making us dress the same, but she has no regrets, responding with “Everywhere we went, people always commenting on how nice you looked!”

Why I don’t dress my triplets the same:

Fast forward 20 years and I find out I’m pregnant with triplets. My mum’s matchy-matchy inclined brain goes into overdrive as she starts suggesting name combinations.
“If you have 3 girls, you could name them, Amber, Ruby and Jade!”

Riiiight. Then we’ll have ourselves a set of traffic lights…

should i dress my triplets the same

We ended up with two girls and a boy, all fraternal and completely different in appearance right from when they were newborn in size, shape and hair colour. My partner and I had decided before they were born that we wanted to help them be individuals as much as possible and deliberately gave them names with a different initial since they would already have the same date of birth. Predictably we received several matching sets of clothes as gifts in the early days, which we received gratefully and got a few cute keepsake photos with them wearing these.

But here’s the reality…

Three babies at once meant the finances were stretched. When friends offered us near new, but second-hand baby clothes, we said “hell yes!”. We bought very, very few items of clothes for our kids when they were babies. Hand-me-down items meant they weren’t matching, but we still tended to keep certain items for individual babies, so they had their “own” clothes. With 2 out of 3 suffering from reflux, one too small to get the smallest nappies to create a good seal around the legs and the general fluid-leakiness of babies, the average number of outfits worn each day was 2-3 per child. Our priorities with clothing choices were simple and fast, not aesthetic! Snap crotches, no fiddly bits and machine washable were non-negotiables!

Even if we had dressed our triplets the same at the start of the day, there’s no way we would make it to lunch without having needed to do a clothing change – and like hell I was going to change the other two every time so they stayed matching! Our babies were born on the first day of summer, so they also spent a fair amount of their first few months in nothing more than a nappy and a muslin swaddle!

From babies to toddlers, we were the centre of attention everywhere we went with our triple pram turning heads constantly. The barrage of well-meaning people wanting to strike up a conversation as we tried to do a quick grocery shop was overwhelming. I remember trying to avoid eye contact or even pretending to talk on my phone to avoid the same questions over and over again from strangers whilst waiting in a queue. If we were playing at the park, the last thing I wanted to do was draw extra attention to the fact they were triplets by dressing them the same.

When I do dress my triplets the same:

Okay, I have a confession to make. My partner and I are mad for a fancy dress occasion! I’m not referring to a black tie cocktail event here – I mean a Disney themed character or superhero party. The one thing that made me wiggle with excitement as our kids got a little bigger was the idea of family themed Halloween costumes, and being able to send them as a trio of characters from the same story for the school book week parade. Our efforts of always honoring their individuality bit me in the foot though as the closest we got was out girls wanting to dress as Anna and Elsa, but our son wanting to be a Toyota Camry. (sigh.) Eventually (at age 8) they decided to capitalise on a shared love of Harry Potter and go as Ron, Harry and Hermione to Book Week, much to the delight of their parents!

Why do people dress their triplets the same?

I have a few friends who have twins or triplets and dress them in matching outfits on a regular basis. I have always been (and continue to be) perplexed by their choice, but these are their reasons:

Reason 1 for dressing your children the same:

“It saves decision fatigue. I grab 2 (or 3) of something off the rack at the shops and I’m sorted. I also only have to decide what get out of the drawer once in the morning instead of thinking about what each child will wear.”

My response:
Firstly, I have bought very few brand new clothes for my kids when they were young because we were fortunate enough to be given many excellent quality second hand items. When they are growing so fast that you only get a season out of an outfit before they outgrow it, I’m pretty reluctant to go spending much on new items.

Secondly, there are many every day tasks that I understand can lead to decision fatigue… what to cook for dinner, what to wear myself etc. When it comes to young kids though, it’s just not difficult for me. Ninety percent of the time, they’re in play clothes (shorts, t-shirts, comfy dresses etc) and the only decision is if they need a jumper or not. Plus I think letting your kids choose what they want to wear and attempt to dress themselves is an important part of learning autonomy and basic motor skills. Not to mention the entertainment value that comes with kids picking their own “unique” combination of clothing items from the drawers to make up an outfit! I have great memories of taking my daughter to the shops at age 3 wearing tracksuit pants, a pink tutu and a leopard print jacket because that’s what she decided to wear that day!

Reason 2 for dressing your children the same:

“I don’t want there to be arguments over who wears what”

My response:
Toddlers will throw tantrums over unreasonable issues – this is as inevitable as death and taxes. I am very much someone who will “pick my battles”, although I’ve never relented my stance in response to a tantrum.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always tried to keep certain items of clothing as “belonging” to an individual child. This can be really easy when they are different body shapes or one has sensory issues or dislikes for certain fabrics. I’ve found that most of the time, my kids have had their own personalities and interests, so if one likes flamingos and the other likes pandas, it’s easy to make them feel like their clothing reflects their individuality when you do go shopping. If my kids really want to wear matching items, I’ll certainly oblige, but it’s not something I’ve found to be common.
If there is a stand-out item of clothing that has been gifted to us that I know will cause arguments, I have either two choices. I source something very similar or the same so each child can have one, or I simply pass on it. A few years back I was given a pair of brand name shoes that lit up when you walked. These retail at around $100 new and had barely been worn (just outgrown) when passed on to us. There was no way I could afford to buy extra pairs and I knew all my kids would love them, so I simply put them aside before showing my children and passed them on to my niece.

Reason 3 for dressing your children the same:

“They like it.”

My response:
Do they really though, or do they like the way it makes you feel? Okay, I’m aware that my opinion here might ruffle some feathers, but hey, this is my blog so I get to say what I really think…

dressing triplets the same

There is undeniably a significant portion of multiple birth parents who just bloody love the attention. They might have “Twin Mommy” as a bumper sticker, or be the ones to let the local newspaper know when they triplets are available for a photo opportunity when they start school, celebrate Mothers Day, finish school etc. It’s my experience that these parents are the ones more likely to dress their kids the same (at least ones of the same genders) and this is why I believe this to be so.

For identical twins, I honestly cannot see any real reason why you would dress your children the same unless you want to draw people’s attention to the fact that you have twins. Seeing a matching set of outfits is eye-catching and will often draw attention at a park or playground. It makes it SO much harder for others to tell your children apart though, so means people either lump them together as a collective (“The Triplets”) or avoid having one on one interactions with them in case they make a mistake.

I have been a child going to school with identical twins and I remember avoiding talking to either of them because I was never sure who I was talking to and therefore didn’t want to seem silly. I’ve been an adult who struggled to tell my friends’ kids apart and for years had to start with “Which one are you?”, which sounds awful, but I felt was better than avoiding conversations and pretending! Once I knew who was who on a particular day I would quickly do a mental exercise to find whatever distinguishing features (usually by clothing) to help me get it right!

I actually love seeing parents who proactively make it easier for others to tell their identical children apart. It might be a different haircut or a consistent accessory such as a bracelet or a scrunchie that friends or teachers can learn is an identifying characteristic of each one’s appearance!

For fraternal siblings, I definitely feel like matching outfits is an attention grab. It’s making sure that no one assumes these are closely aged siblings or even friends – these are multiples, dammit! My own kids are so different in appearance, I don’t even think you’d pick them as siblings if you walked in to their classroom. There’s even around 12 cm in height between them! I honestly believe dressing your twins, triplets or more in matching clothes is a way of shouting at everyone, “Hey, over here! Did you know they’re multiples?”

If you’re reading this and you’re one of those parents, please don’t take this the wrong way. I think you’ve earned the bragging rights to let everyone know you’re a multiple birth parent and if you love talking to strangers about your kids and a little extra attention, then go for it. We are just very different creatures.

I just wish more parents would come out and say, “Heck yeah, I dress them the same. I want to make sure everyone notices I’m a bad ass parenting wizard who has managed multiple babies at once and get my credit where credit’s due!”

why do your dress your twins the same

Finally, Reason 4 for why you dress your children the same:

“I just really like them in matching outfits.”

My response:

Finally, an explanation I can’t argue with. I like putting cheese on my hot cross buns.

Some people think I’m weird. Many just don’t get it. I love it.

You do you.

Everything you need to know about sleeping arrangements for triplets.

sleeping arrangements for triplets

As with so many aspects of parenting, deciding on sleeping arrangements when you have multiple babies requires more thought than if you were to be caring for a single baby. While parents expecting one newborn may have no problem fitting a cot or bassinet in their bedroom with them, space limitations might make fitting more than one cot in the room impractical. Do you keep your babies together in one crib or give them each their own space, but have them in a different room at night? What about once they start school? Do your triplets each have their own bedroom or should you keep them together? There is no “one size fits all” answer here, but this article will hopefully give you some things to consider when making decisions about sleeping arrangements for your triplets.

Will my newborn triplets share a crib in hospital?

Many triplets are born prematurely and this increases for higher order multiples such as quadruplets or more. Premature babies will often requires a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and may potentially require help with breathing and keeping warm, so may spend their early days or weeks in a humidicrib, hooked up to life saving specialist equipment. if your babies require this sort of intervention, they will likely have their own crib, so that it is easier for doctors to monitor them. Once your babies are strong enough to sleep in an open air crib, some hospitals may ask if you would like your babies to share a cot together, but this practice is becoming less common, so it’s important to accept that whatever your hospital prefers to do is in the best interests of your precious babies.

Hospitals in different parts of the world will have their own set of guidelines that they follow when it comes to co-sleeping multiples. These guidelines can vary from state to state and even just from one hospital to the next within the same geographical area. Most hospitals follow the Safe Sleep guidelines relating to SUDI (Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy), which recommends each baby has their own sleeping space. These recommendations also advise that it’s best to have your baby sleeping in the same room as an adult for the first 6-12 months. Easy enough to achieve in hospital, but maybe less so once you get home.

sleeping arrangements for triplets

Sleeping arrangements for triplet newborns at home.

In order to reduce the risk of SUDI, you should be aiming to have each of your babies in their own safe cot and sleeping in the same room as an adult. As with everything when you have multiples, what’s ideal doesn’t always work! Logistically, you might not fit 3 or more cots in your room, so this is a decision you need to make according to what works best for you.

The safest way for two babies to share a cot is to sleep “head to head” with their feet at opposite ends of the cot (see image below).This positioning reduces the risk of the babies chances of smothering one another. Obviously with three or more babies, this set up isn’t possible and your babies may be sleeping side by side across the length of the cot until they get too long for this to be feasible. If separate cots mean spreading your babies across more than one room, you may be able to have one parent in each room with a camping mattress on the floor and share the load that way. Remember – safety and sanity is what’s important in these early days… who cares what your home looks like!

While your babies are small enough to fit into bassinets, this can also be a more compact way of fitting them all in your room, since bassinets are generally smaller. Otherwise you may decide to have 2 babies in a cot together and a single (or other 2 if you have quads) in a second cot.
Other things to consider are if you choose to use devices like movement sensors underneath your babies, you will need to have them in separate cots for this to work effectively. Also, some multiples are more in sync with their siblings than others. I know of parents who report that as soon as one baby started making sounds as they got hungry, the others would wake up and it would be really hectic getting everyone up and fed at the same time. For those parents, having their babies sleep in different rooms to one another made it a little easier to get one baby up before the next one woke. Then there are those babies who will happily sleep through any noise!

Image courtesy of Red Nose Australia

Sleeping arrangements for triplet toddlers

Toddler beds are a great transition from cribs to single beds as they are lower to the ground and have a partial side rail to help prevent any falls. they’re also much smaller than single beds so might allow you to fit all your kids in one room for a bit longer. Toddlers sharing a room can be a lot of fun as they entertain themselves and have cute little conversations. It can also make settling down for sleep more challenging, so you need to do what works best for your family! Some of my favorite memories of my triplets as toddlers is capturing the adorable games they played amongst themselves when it was supposed to be nap time by filming them through a crack in the door! It doesn’t always seem quite so cute when you are sleep deprived and desperate!

Many families with multiples look into bunk bed options, which are great for maximising space and keeping siblings sharing a room. If you haven’t had bunk beds before, be warned that the changing of sheets on a top bunk is far more labour intensive than a regular bed. If you have any physical limitations such as back or upper body injuries, I would urge you to think twice before going down the bunk bed path. Ask friends if anyone has a set of bunks and have a try of changing the sheets there first, so you know what you’re in for before committing!


looking after your teeth during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, there are so many things on the “to-do” list, like buying baby related products, doctors appointments and ultrasounds, clothes to fit your growing belly, maternity leave or work arrangements, finances and even considering how parenthood will affect your relationship with your partner. Dental health is not usually high on the priority list for most pregnant women, but actually, it should be.

How does pregnancy affect your teeth?

The hormonal changes of pregnancy can result in inflammation of the gums (often experienced as bleeding gums). Pregnancy gingivitis (gum disease) has been shown across several studies to affect between 30-100% of pregnant women, usually beginning in the second month of the pregnancy and increasing from there. Advanced gum disease during pregnancy can sometimes result in loose teeth and has been linked to low birth weights and premature births.

Some movement in the teeth can also occur during pregnancy due to the presence of the hormone Relaxin. This hormone is designed to help loosen and relax the ligaments that will assist with bodily changes and eventually childbirth, but it can affect other ligaments causing hip and back pain through hypermobility and also allow the teeth to shift as the ligaments that help the teeth bind to the jaw and gums soften. It’s not generally anything to be concerned about, but if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment such as braces, it’s worth letting your orthodontist know about your pregnancy as soon as possible.

looking after your teeth during pregnancy

The risk of tooth decay can be higher during pregnancy for a few reasons:

 – Hormonal changes increase acidity in the mouth. (Acid and your tooth enamel are not friends);

 – Women suffering from severe nausea and vomiting expose their teeth to the acidic contents of their last meal on a repeated basis;

 -Sugar intake may be higher due to cravings for certain foods

– Grazing on food all day may occur due to either suppression of nausea or for some women (particularly those carrying a multiple pregnancy), they may have a reduced stomach capacity, but increased appetite). Constantly eating means your mouth keep producing acid to start the digestion process.

 – Oral hygiene can take a back seat as for some women, their gag reflex increased during pregnancy, which can make using a toothbrush uncomfortable.

How can you protect your teeth during pregnancy?

Maintaining good oral hygiene, having a professional clean with your dentist and a good diet are the best things you can do for your teeth during pregnancy. If you find yourself needing to eat more regularly throughout the day, try to make good nutrition choices and rinse your mouth out after each meal, to help remove food particles that may be stuck to the teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing is recommended all the time in order to look after your oral health, but is especially important during pregnancy.

How can your pregnancy affect your unborn baby’s future dental work?

A lot of enamel quality is influenced by the health of the child (or the mother) in utero. The baby teeth (milk teeth) develop between the 6 and 8 week mark of a pregnancy (when many women haven’t even realised they are pregnant) and the hardening of the enamel is competed by the 20th week in utero. This means that if there are nutritional deficiencies or illness (especially one that requires antibiotics) during certain stages of the pregnancy, this can affect the enamel quality.

Nutrition is important in preconception and during pregnancy. Women need to load up on their intake of enough calories, protein and numerous vitamins such as A, C and D as well as important minerals such as calcium, phosphate for proper tooth formation.

It’s during the third trimester of pregnancy that the unborn baby accumulates overall stores of calcium and phosphate and Vitamin D. In the case of premature babies, they can miss out on some of these goodies and this may be worth talking to a health professional about after they are born to see if these can be taken as supplements. For babies who make it to full term, they are reliant on the nutritional intake of the mother during this important phase of pregnancy. Once baby teeth emerge, products such as tooth mousse may be appropriate for remineralising the teeth, but it’s worth chatting to your paediatric dentist about the options.

When should you visit a dentist during pregnancy?

visit dentist during pregnancy

Routine dental treatment can be performed safely throughout a pregnancy, but it’s important to advise your dentist regardless. Lying back for extended periods is not recommended during the later stages of pregnancy as the pressure can restrict blood flow to your unborn baby. If you’ve left it a little late, discuss how your dentist can position you in order to minimise any risks.

If you don’t manage to make it to the dentist during your pregnancy, book yourself in for after your baby is born so you can have a routine check up to make sure everything is in order.

Mental Health in Parents of Multiples: How to Stay Sane with your New Babies

mental health triplet parents

Having a baby on the way is exciting, daunting, fascinating, and overwhelming – all at once! Even if you’re already a parent, you have to prepare yourself for how this will change your life (again). Finding out that you’re expecting MULTIPLE babies is a whole new ballgame – how can you even prepare for that?! Caring for one baby takes all of your time, energy, and money – how are you supposed to look after three or more of them and not go crazy?!

Although looking after yourself may seem like a lower priority than caring for all of your new additions, prioritising mental health in parents of multiples is essential. Studies have shown that parents of multiples are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and stress compared to those raising a single baby. The fact is, you can’t expect to be able to care for them well if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

Read on to learn how to manage your mental health and stay sane with multiple babes underfoot.

What challenges in mental health do parents of mutiples face?

depression after triplets

Raising multiple babies at once will likely be one of the most difficult challenges you ever experience. Even the most grounded, prepared, organised new parent will likely experience some form of mental health struggle when raising multiples – it’s just a lot to deal with. Some of the most common mental health challenges that parents of multiples may face include:

  • Baby blues. This is an incredibly common, normal condition that affects around 80% of new mothers. The cyclone of hormones in your body causes crazy mood swings, feelings of sadness/irritability, difficulty sleeping, and other fun symptoms. The baby blues can be tough, but symptoms usually resolve within around two weeks of giving birth. Since many higher order multiple births (triplets or more) involve a lengthier stay in hospital, its’ likely that you will have professional help on hand. Use this opportunity to talk through any tough emotions you’re experiencing and they can probably help you normalise those feelings and move through them easier.
  • Postnatal Depression. For many new mothers, postnatal depression symptoms are similar to the baby blues, but do not resolve within two weeks of having your baby. Once several weeks have passed and you’re still not feeling “okay”, it’s probably time to have a chat with your doctor. It’s also worth mentioning that new fathers of multiples frequently experience postnatal depression – this condition affects more than one in ten new dads. This condition should be treated seriously, not brushed off as ‘adjusting to the normal’ or ‘just exhausted’. Those are real things that are happening, but if you or your partner are having trouble bonding with your child, feeling highly agitated, teary or low mood, consider looking in to it a little further.
  • Anxiety and stress. Although constant anxiety and stress are often considered normal parts of raising a baby (or three… or four), they shouldn’t be. Of course there will be stressful moments, but constantly feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed isn’t normal, and can have long-term effects on the health of you, your partner, and your new babies.

You may be more susceptible to these conditions if you have experienced any form of depression or anxiety in the past, or if it runs in your family. Similarly, new mums who have a challenging pregnancy, have previously experienced the baby blues, or have a history of postnatal depression may be more likely to experience mental health struggles when parenting multiples.

When you’re Expecting: Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health in Parents of Multiples

Just as it’s important to prepare your home for multiple babies, it’s equally important to prepare your mind. From the day you learn you’re having triplets you can start taking action to mentally prepare yourself for the arrival of your babies and give yourself the best possible chance of staying on top of your mental health after your babies arrive. Here are some steps to take during pregnancy that will help maintain good mental health in parents of multiples:

  • Stay active. Non-weight bearing exercises that are gentle on your joints are a great way to keep both your body and your mind healthy during a multiples pregnancy. Try yoga, water aerobics, or pilates. A good, clinical pilates program helped me navigate my pregnancy without experiencing back pain and I personally found being in the water was an immense relief in the later stages of pregnancy as it took all the weight off me. Of course every pregnancy and every woman is different, so discuss your exercise plan with your doctor first.
  • Plan, plan, plan. Reduce your stress and anxiety levels by planning ahead for the arrival of your babies. Remember that triplets and quads will most likely arrive early – make sure you have all of your big baby purchases taken care of (car seats, pram, cots etc), a place for your babies to sleep, and lots of meals in the freezer. Consider having someone able to help walk your dog or feed your pets while you’re in hospital and having plenty of essentials – tinned food, toilet paper and diapers stocked up!
  • Join a support group. Even if you have a great network of friends and family to help you out, there’s value in finding a group of other expecting mums to spend time with. Sharing your fears, excitement, and struggles can be a great release, and it’s always reassuring to know that you’re not alone on this crazy journey.
    On this note, some parents of multiples can find being around a group of those expecting single babies makes them feel even more isolated. Find out if there’s a multiple births association or group in your area – these parents of twins and more will likely be more relateable and have some nuggets of wisdom to share with you.

Bringing Home Your Babies: Helping Mental Health in Parents of Multiple Newborns

Once your babies enter the world, your life will likely be turned upside down. The mental health of parents with multiples often takes a backseat when they bring their babies home as ‘survival mode’ takes over. Here are some tips for managing the mental health struggles you might face when your triplets arrive:

  • Eat the right foods. Make sure you’re not only eating enough, but that you’re also eating the right foods. Balanced meals and regular snacks every couple of hours will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels, which can boost your mental health and help you feel less frazzled or overwhelmed. It’s so easy to fall in to a trap of quick, high carb meals such as pasta, cereal or a handful of potato chips to get you by when you’re constantly on the go. Trust me when I say that good food will make you feel so much better! Pop a tray of carrots, sweet potatoes and beets in the oven once a week so you have some ready cooked veg in the fridge to simply reheat. A tub of hummus with carrot, bell pepper or a cucumber is a quick, yet healthy snack or a handful of almonds to get you through till dinnertime. Try to have easy, mess free options on hand such as bananas, berries and cherry tomatoes.
  • Reduce your social media use. Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but seeing pictures of your friends catching up for coffee isn’t always helpful when you’re sleep-deprived and drowning in diapers. Don’t compare yourself to others, either! Just because someone posts a picture of their baby sleeping, doesn’t mean they have a perfect baby that ALWAYS sleeps. People share their wins online and rarely the tough moments. Instead, set up a group chat with just a few trusted friends or try finding a podcast that makes you feel good and listen to that in the wee hours of the morning.
  • Communicate with your partner. It’s important to let your partner know if you feel as though you’re struggling. This will give them a chance to help you out as much as possible and look out for your mental health. You may even be surprised to learn that they’re feeling the same way, which can be oddly comforting. It’s unlikely that any parent of multiples of is feeling ‘excellent’ in the early days, but if you can be open and honest, then you may find you can lift a little when your partner is doing it particularly tough and they can do the same for you.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, or just generally feel as though your babies are bringing you down, it’s important to take action. Mental health in parents of multiples should not be neglected just because you have your hands full. Talk to your partner, talk to a friend, and talk to your doctor to find a solution that helps you get back to loving life with your triplets.

Thinking About Delivering Triplets Naturally? Here’s what you need to know…

vaginal delivery triplets

Of the five million decisions facing every expecting mother, figuring out how to give birth is one of the most personal and important ones to make. There are more options than ordering a sandwich at Subway – “Natural vaginal birth? C-section? Waterbirth? Homebirth? Would you like a side of epidural with that?” It’s important to consider all of your options and create a birth plan that is best suited to you and your new little one. If you’re expecting multiples (congratulations and good luck!), you definitely need to factor this into your birth plan. Read on to learn everything you need to know about delivering triplets naturally.

Why choose to deliver triplets naturally?

Firstly, a “natural delivery” means different things to different people. Some expecting mums interpret a natural birth as a vaginal delivery with only minor/necessary medical intervention. In contrast, others take it to mean a vaginal birth without any medical intervention whatsoever – no surgical procedures and no pain relief. It’s easy to be drawn to the idea of a natural delivery, especially now that phrases like “all-natural” and “naturally-derived” are splashed across products that are supposed to be better for our bodies.

vaginal delivery with triplets

These are some of the most common reasons for choosing a natural delivery:

  • It can be empowering. Have you ever wondered just what you’re capable of? Do you like testing your body and pushing it to the limit? A natural delivery will do just that, and you will know for the rest of your life that you have experienced one of the most painful sensations known to womankind, and lived to tell the tale.
  • Breastfeeding may come a little easier. The hormones produced as a result of your body going in to labour start initiating milk production. While the lactation process will still occur one your uterus begins contracting after birth, it can take a little longer for those hormones and the subsequent milk production to get flowing. Talk to your midwife for assistance in getting your milk supply up and don’t worry if a natural delivery isn;t an option for you…plenty of women have had caesarean section births and successfully breastfed triplets or more!
  • It adds to the “primal” aspect of pregnancy. Being pregnant is the most natural thing in the world – humans and other animals have experienced pregnancy since the dawn of time. For many women, keeping the experience as “pure” and as primal as possible is an important part of the journey.
  • Your little one’s lungs may get a helping hand. Contractions during labour can be great for helping clear the gunk out of babies’ lungs as they pass through the birth canal and make their journey into the world. Research publisjed in the British Medical Journal reported that babies born via caesarian section are up to four times more likely to experience breathing difficulties in the first few days following birth compared to those delivered naturally.
  • It’s certainly an experience you will remember. You won’t lose any sensation or alertness during a natural delivery. In fact, the whole experience will likely stick with you very vividly for years to come, whether you like it or not. One reassuring thought for you…while the idea of pushing multiple babies out may seem daunting, multiple births are usually smaller sized babies than their single birth counterparts!

Although some people see benefits in a natural birth, it’s not the safest option for everybody. Complications may arise if your pregnancy is considered “high risk,” or if you have certain medical conditions. Also, although single babies and often twins can be delivered naturally, delivering triplets naturally is not usually recommended.

Why delivering triplets naturally might not be your safest option

The general rule of pregnancy is that it’s better to keep the babe incubating in the uterus for as long as possible. However, this advice changes when you’re cooking multiple babes. Delivering triplets naturally rarely happens and isn’t recommended by health professionals. Getting one baby out of there is hard enough, but with three, the risks greatly increase – the placenta or umbilical cord can become compressed, or the babies can become entangled.

If the first triplet is born vaginally, the risks for the other babies are amplified. They suddenly have much more space to move around in the uterus, increasing the chances of becoming tangled or in the wrong position for birth. The risk of placental abruption also increases after the first triplet is delivered vaginally.

Most obstetricians will prefer to approach a triplet delivery via caesarian section, simply because it is challenging to monitor the foetal heartbeats when there are multiple babies. If one of your babies is in distress, it can be harder for them to detect this and intervene if necessary. These are some of the reasons why many medical professionals don’t generally recommend delivering triplets naturally.

What are the alternatives to delivering triplets naturally?

Although there are instances of delivering triplets naturally, it’s a pretty rare occurrence. Triplets are almost always delivered by cesarian section (C-section) as this offers more control over the delivery and can be scheduled in advance. Many women are relieved to have a scheduled delivery date, and as triplets often require extra medical care after birth, it’s safest to have everything arranged in advance.

If you’re expecting triplets and were hoping for a natural delivery, it may be possible if you discuss the options with your medical team. However, there are certain instances when a natural birth will definitely not be recommended, including if:

  • One or more of your babies are breeched/not in a safe position
  • Your placenta is low-lying
  • Your triplets are all sharing one placenta
  • You have previously had a C-section or a difficult/complicated vaginal delivery

If any of those scenarios apply to you, you will need to deliver your triplets via C-section in a hospital.

Naturally delivering triplets: Can it be done?

There are certainly greater risks associated with delivering triplets naturally compared to single babies or even twins. It may be possible, and if it is something you feel very strongly about, you should discuss your options with your doctor/midwife/OBGYN.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to ensure your babies enter the world safely, and you are there to welcome them into your soon-to-be-very-full arms.

6 Early Symptoms of Triplet Pregnancy (because you just know, right?)

Okay, so triplets was a surprise. But I had a hunch it was twins!

I’ve spoken to so many multiple birth mamas out there who had a whole range of pregnancy symptoms early on, but the following ones have been pretty damn consistent across the board. Many are also experienced in single pregnancies, but it seems that the magnitude it greater and they are felt a lot sooner when you’re infested with, I mean pregnant with more than one tiny human. It might be too soon to get an ultrasound just yet, but if you’re gut is telling you there might be more going on that usual (and let’s face it, if you’re reading this article, you must think there’s something going on), read on to hear what a whole bunch of triplet mums have reported in the early days of their pregnancies.

Fatigue in multiple pregnancy can feel like you’re soul is leeching out of your body.

There’s no mistaking this symptom. While every woman is different and the signs of more than one baby on board can vary, every mum of higher order multiples I’ve spoken to has described this overwhelming exhaustion that consumes them. It might start as an afternoon crash – the kind that makes you wonder if you’re coming down with something or overdoing it and need to turn in early for a few nights. The tiredness progresses to an all consuming heaviness that will have you wondering what the heck is going on when you pour your fourth cup of coffee before midday. You’re growing a tribe, sister – no wonder you’re exhausted!

symptoms multiple pregnancy

Need to pee all the time?

The need to urinate frequently in the later stages of pregnancy because your babies are putting pressure on your bladder makes complete sense, but many women find they need to pee more regularly in the first few weeks too. This is because of the changes in hormones, and with more babies comes (you guessed it!) more pregnancy hormones! You’ll need to make sure you keep yourself hydrated, so to give yourself the best chance at a good nights’ sleep, try to drink large amounts of fluids earlier in the day so you can cut back before you head off to bed.

Triplets will show earlier than normal on a home pregnancy test

Home pregnancy test kits work by detecting the levels of HcG hormone in your urine. Testing in the first couple of days of your missed period won’t always show a positive result in single pregnancies, but if there’s more than one baby growing in there, there’s higher levels of hormones happening and you will see results earlier and usually with stronger lines on the pee stick. If you’re getting very distinctive positive readings and its’ early in the cycle, there’s every chance you’ve got more than one passenger on board!

Everything smells awful.

I remember throwing out a dozen perfectly good eggs because they smelt off to me, then cursing the local supermarket when I opened a second carton, to find they also seemed to be bad. Turns out the smell of a raw egg continued to resemble fart for the remainder of my pregnancy.

Many women report being sensitive to smells during pregnancy and it seems that multiple pregnancies can bring this on a little sooner and stronger. Raw meat is a common culprit, so before you throw that pack of chops in the bin, maybe get a second opinion. And you might choose to leave the bbq to your partner and focus on prepping the sides instead for a while!

The hangover without the fun party the night before.

So, not only do bad smells (that aren’t actually bad smells, but you brain thinks are bad smells) make you feel like throwing up, but now you get to feel like throwing up in between the bad smells. Fun, huh?

For the luckiest of gals, the feeling of nausea comes with real, actual throwing up. Nausea during pregnancy (especially during the first trimester) is quite common, but when those pregnancy hormones are elevated, it can start to cause a case of the voms earlier than normal and with more, er, gusto? Feeling queasy and exhausted might indicate a viral infection, but if you’re due to bleed and there’s a chance you might be pregnant, it might be worth a trip to the store for a home pregnancy test!

A blubbering emotional mess.

I used to sneer at the stereotypical portrayal of pregnant women as teary, psychopathic bags of hormones. Then I found myself pregnant with triplets. Fortunately, my irrational, unpredictable emotional rollercoaster ride only really ensued for the first few weeks of the pregnancy before leveling off to a degree of over-sensitivity than many women (or perhaps just their husbands) would describe as normal.

The surge of hormones than are racing through your body take a little getting used to and so those first weeks can be tough as you find a way to adjust. If you’re not usually a teary person (such as myself) and suddenly find yourself bursting in to heavy sobbing because it started raining (although you have no plans that require you to go outdoors), it could be a sign that there are some serious pregnancy hormones at play!

How early can you feel movement with triplets?

Believe it or not, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference in how early you’ll feel your babies move when compared to a single pregnancy. If you’ve been pregnant before, you’re often able to feel movement earlier than first timers, probably because you’re more tuned in to what you’re actually feeling. Many women report those first movements as flutters and even mistake them for wind. I would describe the first movements I felt as being like a goldfish in my tummy. Some women report feeling their babies move as early as 13 weeks, but more most it’s usually well in to that second trimester.

With triplets and higher order multiples, once you get past the halfway mark, you will be in for a treat as often when one baby becomes active, they tend to wake the others and you will have what feels like an octopus wriggling around in your belly. As your babies grow it can make for quite a show when you can see your belly squirming from the outside!

At the end of the day though, we’re all different. Some women have easier pregnancies than others and the end goal is to have all your babies safe and healthy at the finish line.

Whether you have one, two, three, four or more – you’re so fortunate to have this experience. The bad bits pass, but the best bits do too, so cherish it all. If you are expecting triplets of higher order multiples, check out some advice from women who have been there and done it before.

Insomnia during triplet pregnancy driving you nuts? Try these cool tricks for better sleep.

triplet pregnancy insomnia

So you’re pregnant with triplets or more and you’re not sleeping? I hear you, sister. While insomnia during pregnancy is pretty common, it is often exacerbated for those carrying a multiple pregnancy ( as are most of the usual joys including heartburn, morning sickness and fatigue). When you’re already feeling exhausted throughout the day due to the load of growing a six-legged sea monster in your belly, the frustration of lying awake all night despite being completely wrecked is complete torture.

So why can’t you sleep? The common reasons for insomnia during pregnancy include:

 – Needing to wee
. The group of tiny humans using your bladder as a beanbag means you have to get up and go to the toilet frequently.

 – Stress and anxiety. There is a lot to process when you’re expecting triplets or more. Not only are there the fears over preterm labor and health complications due to the increased risk factors that go with multiples, but you now have a logistical dilemma to sort out as well that you probably weren’t anticipating when you said, “Let’s have a baby.” Specialized equipment such as prams, potentially a new car to fit three car seats, financial concerns might all be racing through your mind making it hard to switch off at night.

 – Back Pain. Not surprising really, but your back is copping quite a load at the moment. As you gain weight in the front, your back muscles have to work harder to maintain balance. Unfortunately, hormonal changes loosen ligaments, which can mean its’ easier to injure yourself too whilst pregnant, so remember to take it easy when you can.

 – General discomfort. As your babies grow, the chance of finding a comfortable position to sleep will shrink. Since it isn’t considered safe to sleep on your back or your right side, and your tummy is, um, well…it pretty much leaves your left side for sleeping. Hot tip here: Try a long body pillow or even a couple of standard pillows to support your body as you sleep.

 – Gas. Pregnancy hormones inhibit digestion, so it’s not your fault that you’re farting like jersey cow and burping like a truck driver. The feeling of bloating can cause pain and discomfort.

 – Respiratory changes. If your babies are squished up against your diaphragm, you may find that you feel shirt of breath and this can make it hard to drift off and relax.

 – Metabolism. Your metabolism is working like crazy right now, growing tiny fingers, organs and eyebrows! You may have trouble eating enough because you have crazy morning sickness and can’t keep anything down, or your babies are squashing your stomach so you feel full easily. If you aren’t having these problems, you’re probably starving hungry all the time! The absolute BEST advice I was given when I suffered from insomnia during my triplet pregnancy was to EAT! A protein snack in the middle of the night was the quickest way to get me back off to sleep. Prepare it the night before so it’s ready to go in the fridge. Try a hard boiled egg, some hummus, even just a small protein shake.

What can help with insomnia during pregnancy?

Well, apart from my tip just before about eating a protein snack if you wake in the night, there are some other natural things you can try to assist with getting a good nights’ sleep during your pregnancy. I’m not going to lie – “a good nights’ sleep” is probably a stretch, but surely some improvement is better than anything, right?

Exercise: As undesirable as it might feel to ‘work out’ during a triplet pregnancy, it will make you feel so much better! I’m not talking about a hard sweat session – walking if it’s comfortable to you, swimming, walking up and down the swimming pool and pilates are all really gentle forms of exercise that are usually safe to do during pregnancy. Of course discuss this with your doctor first because every pregnancy is different, but the physical and emotional benefits are worth exploring.

Vitamins and Minerals: There are some supplements and foods that can help with sleeplessness during pregnancy  – make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D (thing fatty fish such as mackerel or salmon plus a great reason to get outdoors in the sunshine to absorb it) and magnesium (green leafy veg, bananas, avocados). You can also buy magnesium oil sprays that are absorbed through the skin.

Avoid stimulants: This might seem obvious, but if you’re snacking more than normal to keep your energy levels up during the day, you might be consuming caffeine, sugar or other additives such as flavour enhancers and preservatives that can interfere with sleep. Be especially mindful of your evening meal being low GI, as preservative free as possible and healthy.

Insomnia can be incredibly frustrating during pregnancy and in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “I’m not going to get any sleep when the babies arrive!”, which just adds to the cruelty of it all. Be kind to yourself. Set realistic expectations during the day when you’re tired – you are already doing an amazing job so please just make taking care of yourself the biggest priority.

Questions to ask your doctor if you’ve just found out you’re expecting triplets or more.

Expecting a child is an exciting time but it can also be a physically and emotionally trying one as well. This holds true even more if you are expecting more than one child. In fact, common questions on the minds of expectant mothers often include everything from how to pay for healthcare expenses and how much weight to gain to recommended lifestyle changes to make and details about actual birth and delivery. If you are expecting triplets or more, some questions are more important than others. Below is a list of things to discuss with your doctor as your pregnancy progresses, so read on to learn about what you need to know.

Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between gaining the right amount of weight and the healthy growth of your babies. These studies go so far as to say that weight gain before Week 20 can help in the proper functioning and development of the placenta. Women who are of normal weight before their pregnancy should gain between 35 and 50 pounds. Women who are somewhat overweight are advised to gain somewhere between 30 and 50 pounds.

Do I need to consult with a perinatologist if I am pregnant with more than one baby?

A perinatologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of high-risk pregnancies, including triplet or higher order multiple pregnancies. In case you are wondering, pregnancies with twins and above are classified as high-risk, regardless of other background or health factors you may or may not have. If you are at an advanced age or are in a particularly high risk group as a result of having diabetes, high blood pressure, or other factors, or if you have had pregnancy-related complications in the past, then it is probably better to see a perinatologist. If not, and if your doctor assures you that things are progressing normally with your pregnancy, then you can continue to only see your primary doctor.

Can I have sex during a triplet pregnancy?

what to ask my dr about pregnant with triplets

Some doctors worry that sex during a triplet pregnancy can set off preterm labor. However, research strongly suggests that having sex during a triplet pregnancy is actually quite safe, as long as you have no other health-related red flags or warning to watch out for as advised by your doctor.

Is bed rest really necessary when carrying triplets or more?

Again, many doctors prescribe bed rest for women carrying twins or more to help offset the chances of preterm labor. However, most research does not back up this somewhat antiquated practice. In fact, for some women, bed rest can actually increase their chances for preterm labor. Having said this, getting an adequate amount of rest while you are pregnant with triplets is very important, so try to take more frequent breaks and reduce your overall activity. The fewer calories you burn, the more your babies will have.

Do I need to be induced if I go past Week 35 in a triplet pregnancy?

If everything is going well, you can expect things to go normally until past week 32. Doctors don’t usually recommend that you carry your babies for too much longer than that because of the risk of complications that can arise for expectant mothers carrying triplets as a result of the reduced space in the womb, as well the speed with which the placenta breaks down

Is there any kind of specific exercise that I need to do when carrying multiple babies?

Exercise always helps, but it depends on your personal activity level and the needs of your pregnancy. Someone who frequently works out in the gym will have different needs from someone who is less active. In general, some light exercises are helpful, and your doctor may recommend that you do a few light activities a few times a day. The bottom line, however, is that you should try to be active throughout your pregnancy, but do only low-impact exercises such as prenatal yoga or walking.

What foods or vitamins do I need to take during a multiple pregnancy?

You should try to avoid raw fish and raw eggs, and you might need extra meat in case you suffer from anemia. Also, regularly taking the vitamins your doctor prescribes for you is absolutely necessary; taking adequate amounts of the right vitamins can really lower your chances of facing complications as your pregnancy progresses. The most basic of vitamin regimens include regular doses of vitamin D, iron, calcium, and folic acid (all of these are necessary for the healthy development of your babies).

Are there any specific symptoms I should watch out for during a triplet pregnancy?

Pregnancy symptoms vary from person to person. If your doctor knows you and your family well, or if they at least take your detailed history prior to becoming your consultant (which they will have done), then they will be able to tell you which symptoms are expected for you and which ones might be cause for concern. At the very least, you can expect somewhat more severe morning sickness and breast tenderness, not to mention much quicker weight increases as compared to single pregnancies with triplets.


What are the most common complications during triplet pregnancy?

What do you need to know about triplet pregnancy?

Being pregnant with triplets means both you and your babies are at higher risk of developing health complications as compared to a pregnancy with twins or a single baby.

Common complications of pregnancies with triplets include premature birth and low birth weight.

Extra prenatal care is needed so that your healthcare practitioner can keep a closer eye on you and your babies during your pregnancy.

Remedial actions that should be taken to reduce your exposure to risk and complications include early confirmation of the type of pregnancy you are having, and educating yourself about warning signs to watch out for.

Just found out you’re expecting triplets?

With each additional baby that a woman carries during her pregnancy, there is an increase in the chances and likelihood of developing a pregnancy complication. When it comes to having more than one baby at a time, twins, therefore, have the lowest chance of complication as compared to other types of multiple pregnancies, and the chances go up for triplets, quadruplets, and beyond.

Common Complications with Triplet Pregnancies:
multiple pregnancy complications

Here are brief explanations of some of the more common complications of birth with triplets. The same complications are common with higher order multiples such as quadruplets and the risk often increase as the number of babies goes up.

Preterm Delivery
Preterm or premature delivery can be defined as a pregnancy that lasts less than 37 weeks. The actual length of gestation usually falls with each additional baby that the mother carries, and most pregnancies last, on average, 39 weeks for single pregnancies. Pregnancies with twins typically last 36 weeks, and about half of them are delivered preterm. Pregnancies with triplets, on the other hand, usually last about 32 weeks, but 9 out of 10 of them are preterm, with higher order pregnancies almost always being preterm.

Low Birth Weight
Babies born under 5.5lbs are classified as low birthweight babies. Babies that weigh less than 3.3lbs and who are born before 32 weeks are more likely to develop complications and may suffer long-term health issues such as slow mental development, cerebral palsy, and loss of vision or hearing.

Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
This phenomenon occurs because babies sharing the same womb, and in many cases, the same placenta, compete for nutrients and space. With multiple pregnancies, while the fetuses grow at approximately the same rate in the beginning, the rate then slows, and it slows earlier and earlier the more fetuses there are in the womb.

Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, paleness, shortness of breath, and passing out. An iron-rich diet can help fight off anemia by keeping hemoglobin levels up, and good foods to have include lentils, dark and leafy green vegetables, and anything fortified with iron. You can even take supplements to bring your iron levels back up to the recommended or required level.

Preeclampsia is another name for pregnancy-related high blood pressure. Twin pregnancies are two times as likely to develop preeclampsia as single-baby pregnancies, and 50% of triplet pregnancies develop preeclampsia.

Fetal Death
Intrauterine fetal death, while uncommon, is still a risk for multiple births. You may have to induce labor or have a caesarian to avoid the risk of losing the other fetuses, but ultimately your healthcare practitioner will determine for you what plan of action is best if you are faced with a fetus that has died while still in the womb.

Common questions from those expecting triplets:

The following questions and answers provide useful information on having triplets or higher order multiple pregnancies and the risks associated therewith.

Is it true that multiple pregnancies are riskier than single pregnancies?

In terms of simple risk, the answer is yes. While it is true that the vast majority of births in the US result in healthy babies, any pregnancy that involves two or more babies can be labeled high risk. Furthermore, the more babies there are, the higher and higher the risks are.

What is the incidence rate of premature delivery?
Roughly 6 in 10 twins and 9 in 10 triplets are born prematurely. Premature delivery does not necessarily mean you can definitely expect health complications, but the two things are correlated and the incidence rate of complications – including premature delivery – is higher with higher multiple births.

Will I necessarily have a cesarean while having triplets?
Being pregnant with multiples does not necessarily mean that you will have a cesarean birth. Twins are often delivered vaginally, and such delivery depends on the position of the babies in the womb, but with triplets and higher order multiples, a cesarean is usually recommended.

What risks are associated with premature deliveries?
The entire aura and even the science behind gestation and birth are magical for a reason. Because the undelivered baby goes through specific cues before being born, it gets ready, in a way, in a step by step manner for the outside world. Premature babies do not go through all of these steps (the same is true to a certain extent for caesarian babies that are not delivered vaginally) and as such, vital organs including the lungs and brain of preemies may be underdeveloped. Their immune systems may not be ready either, meaning they will have a harder time fighting infections, and they may not even be able to suck or swallow.

Will I need bed rest during my pregnancy?
Your doctor may put you on bedrest because reducing your overall physical activity and taking breaks can be good for you, but it really depends on you, the growth of your babies, and the recommendations of your doctor.

How can I reduce my exposure to health risks?
Many complications arise over time and don’t have as much to do with specific lifestyles or behaviors as many people think, so getting an early confirmation of the type of pregnancy you are having is the best way to give your doctor the time they need to handle any issues that may come along. You should also educate yourself about common risks and complications, learn what common warning signs of different risks and illnesses are, and keep yourself healthy and hydrated.

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