Doula for Multiples
When I had twins, I didn’t even know what questions to ask. What I did know, was that I needed help.
The multiples birth rate has risen over 89% in the last generation. So what does that mean for us? That means that we all need a little help. Sure, there are some factors of the pregnancy that are the same whether you’re carrying multiples or a singleton. But there are some big differences also.
Multiples generally mean the pregnancy is classified as high risk. That doesn’t mean that something eminently bad is going to happen, it just means that everyone is a little more watchful. If you’re seeing an Obstetrician, you’ll probably also see a Perinatologist who specializes in multiples or other high risk pregnancies.
It means more appointments, more ultrasounds, more attention to your diet and activity levels. It means that your weight gain will be greater, and so will your body’s need for those extra calories. It also means that bedrest may enter the conversation.
At Doulas of Los Angeles, we have a doula for you who specializes in antepartum support, which is support for a pregnant woman, in her home, while she’s on bedrest. Having been on bedrest, I can say that it’s no bueno. BUT having someone to ask questions of, take care of things around the house, cook light meals, calm any concerns, prepare the things that you’re not able to prepare for the birth, is golden!
Having multiples means that your preparations for the house will include DOUBLE the diapers, DOUBLE the clothes, DOUBLE almost everything. I say “almost everything,” because there are some things (like a changing table) that you won’t necessarily need two of (unless you want one for upstairs and one for downstairs, which is actually a lifesaver). Because it’s not like you’re going to be changing multiple babies’ diapers at the exact same moment. Which might inspire a cartoon someday.
Figuring out WHICH items you need to double and which items you don’t, is one of the ways your doula can help with, saving you precious time and money.
Multiples usually also mean an earlier birth. Full term for multiples is considered 37 weeks. At first, this may sound great! And many times the babies are healthy and strong, ready to go home. But sometimes is means a stay in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Before they go home, they’ll need to be able to fully inflate their lungs, be comfortable breathing room air (without oxygen supplementation) without it causing an overload on their hearts and with full oxygen saturation. They’ll need to “nipple” all their meals; which means take all feedings from a natural or synthetic nipple rather than an NG (nasogastric) tube.
Feedings can be exhausting for premature babies, so you’ll need a strategy for keeping their energy high and their feedings as efficient as possible, possibly adding a fortifier or other measures to help strengthen babies. A hospital IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) or an Occupational Therapist will help you establish a plan that works for your family, and our doulas will help you put that plan to work in your home. Sometimes we join families in the NICU as well.
With all of this work just to get everyone fed, you’ll need your doula there to nurture you also. She can keep healthy, delicious means coming to you day and night; she can take over a feeding so you can shower or rest; she can help you establish routines that allow everyone to sleep soundly at night. She will stay with you, providing comfort and answers.
At Doulas of Los Angeles, we offer several postpartum doula packages that are very beneficial to parents of multiples. The first is a 40 hour contract, which you can schedule however you need to, day or night. The second is a 500 hour contract, which can also be scheduled for days or nights, for up to a year after the birth. The third contract is a 5 day live in package – 24 hour care for 5 solid days. No need to worry about how to care for your babies while you’re still recovering yourself; you’ll have your doula there with you to care for all of you.
She’ll give you keys for how to soothe your babies, non-judgmental strategies for patterns that fit YOUR parenting goals, and unconditional support for your family. She’s also a source of information regarding other community supports, such as Moms of Multiples groups and other community perks.
Multiple babies means multiple blessings. You can prepare now, by putting a doula on your team. Call Doulas of Los Angeles to schedule a no-obligation consultation to see how we can help you prepare for the experience of your choice!