Planning for Having Twins

Jan 22, 2022 | 4 minutes Read

When you find out you are having twins, it can come as a genuine surprise. Shock, anxiety, and denial combined with utter joy are common reactions. “How will we manage?”, “How can we afford them?”, “Our house is too small”, “I/we won’t cope”, “They must be wrong”, are some of the more common responses.

There is no one right way to respond to the news of having twins and it can take time to process this news. Therefore, it helps to just aim for an easy life for the first few weeks after having a twin pregnancy confirmed and to avoid being so busy that you don’t have a chance to process the reality. Because although every woman has some chance of conceiving with twins, finding this out for sure is another thing entirely.

Whether pregnant with one or more babies, some couples choose not to share their news of a positive pregnancy until after the first trimester has passed. By then, the high risk of miscarriage is reducing and the chances of continuing to term are increasing. Since most women have a first trimester ultrasound, it’s uncommon these days to not have a twin pregnancy diagnosed until into the second trimester. But sometimes it can be very clear from the earliest days of having a pregnancy confirmed that twins may be present. Early pregnancy symptoms can be so exaggerated and severe that this is enough reason to warrant having a first trimester ultrasound when two little embryos can be seen.

There is no definite time frame when couples will know they are having twins. There are just too many individual factors to consider. Perhaps twins may already run in your family, you’ve had twins before, or you’ve had fertility assistance – all of these factors will increase your likelihood of having twins. Some women suspect almost from the moment of conception that “something” is different. Their senses of taste, smell and alertness change so remarkably that not only do feel they are pregnant but are strongly suspicious they are having more than one baby.

I’ve just had the most amazing dream!

Some women dream they are having twins in such detail that they wake convinced this is true. Or they’ve been so exposed to the possibility of having twins by their families that they, in turn, always assumed they would. In this case having a twin pregnancy confirmed is not so much a shock but an affirmation of what they simply knew to be true for them.

But if you’ve never had anything to do with twins other than knowing they exist, then your reaction is likely to be very different. Once you’ve recovered from the initial shock of finding out you’re having twins, your practical side will emerge. Exactly when this happens is highly individual.

It’s never too early to start planning for managing two babies and it’s worth remembering that less than 50% of twin pregnancies extend beyond 38 weeks. Prematurity is common when having twins and many couples aim to be organized from around 30 weeks. Similarly, pregnancy complications are more common, so being organized and doing some planning is important. Don’t leave everything to the third trimester because you’re likely to find yourself running out of time and getting stressed out.

Practical considerations when having twins

  • Housing – number of rooms, bathroom access, yard, living space and storage. Children may be small, but their “stuff” takes up a lot of room.
  • If you are considering renovating your home to accommodate your bigger family, be aware that any renovation ALWAYS takes longer than predicted and costs more than you think it will. Do you really need this extra stress when you are pregnant with twins or is moving house a preferable option? Only you and your partner can know what’s right for you.
  • Your neighborhood – is it child friendly, are there other families to connect with and is it safe?
  • Consider how you are going to feed your twins. Check Breastfeeding USA’s recommendations for joining a local breastfeeding group and tips for success. Speak with your maternity care provider about what you can do to prepare your body and your mind for breastfeeding twins.
  • Every time you do the grocery shopping, buy at least one thing to set up the nursery. Toiletries, diapers, wipes, and baby bath products can all be stockpiled through your pregnancy to minimize additional financial pressure when they’re born.
  • Cook meals and freeze them for when you’re short on time after the twins are born.
  • Nursery furniture – research your options such as buying new or second-hand, doing deals for buying double of everything. Check online marketplaces and furniture rentals. You will be amazed at how generous other parents can be in lending their baby equipment so don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Join the multiple birth club or association in your area (see Multiples of America) They often have baby furniture rental or lending schemes.
  • Explore access to community resources such as doctors, child health clinics, schools, parks. If you must, could you walk to the shops/health care, etc.?
  • Make a list of support people who you can call on for help. Get their contact numbers and availability so that you don’t ever feel you need to care for the babies all by yourself.
  • Check with your employer to see what parental leave you may be entitled to.
  • Car size – many families need to size up when it comes to accommodating twins, especially if they already have older children. Also check on car seats and consider spending more on the long-term options. You will have more time when you are pregnant to research this than when you have two babies to care for.
  • If you are not a naturally organized person, then learn how to be. Go to a store which specializes in storage and organization. Try to get into the habit of tracking important dates, medical appointments, and reminders somewhere convenient for you. The secret to managing twins is routine and if you’re a bit chaotic this won’t help. Ask one of your more organized friends for tips; they’re sure to love sharing their ideas with you.
  • Talk with your older children about the twins, how much they will be able to help you and let them know they are special too. Try to spend some special time with them each day.
  • Pack your hospital bag nice and early. Not having to think about this and ticking it off your “to do list” will free your mind for other necessities.
  • Go away for a few days with your partner before the twins are born. Have some couple time and focus on what you both need to do to stay strong and united. The early days of caring for one new baby can be very demanding, but this is especially the case with twins.

But I don’t feel excited about having twins – am I a bad parent?

Sometimes expectant parents can feel very differently about having twins. A mother may feel more apprehensive than her partner, who could just view having twins as the best thing that ever happened. The practical reality of coping with more than one baby at a time can weigh especially heavily on mothers. Although you may feel you should be delighted, your reality may or may not be very different.

No matter how many times you hear “you’ll be alright… you’ll cope”, you could still find yourself ruminating with worry. Building anxiety creates feelings of stress which then impacts on the ability to sleep and enjoy everyday life. If you or your partner feel this way, it is important that you seek mental health support. Start with your provider who can speak to you about referral to a psychologist. Recognizing how you feel and acknowledging it is the first step to feeling better.

Having twins is a joy, but it is also made easier by some planning and organization!

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at