If you are pregnant with triplets, you may be wondering what delivery and recovery is going to look and feel like for you and your babies. Even after you do a lot of research and ask questions at your appointments, it may still seem like a big mystery, shrouded in anecdotes from well meaning friends and medical professionals, and that’s probably because it is different for everyone. However, there are a few things you can expect when giving birth to triplets (or multiples) in terms of your delivery and recovery.
Many moms of triplets deliver by Cesarean section, but there are a few who may deliver vaginally. Either way, ensure you have established clear communication with your birth team to prepare for your birth experience.
For Cesarean delivery, you might expect to be separated from your babies for a few hours. As you have just undergone major abdominal surgery, you will have a large incision and may need assistance to visit your babies in the NICU and to hold them.
Effects on Mother
When you are pregnant with multiples, there is added pressure and crowding of the organs and your abdominal muscles may have weakened due to stretching or prenatal bed rest. In addition, the labor process will cause a surge in hormones, such as oxytocin, to promote bonding and effective breastfeeding with your infants. Many moms also experience some degree of “baby blues” from the sudden drop in pregnancy hormones in the days after birth.
Baby blues is a normal part of postpartum recovery and typically peaks around the third day. Sometimes it may take longer and that can be normal as well. Nevertheless, talk to your healthcare provider if these feelings persist, are very intense, or cause thoughts of harming yourself or your infant(s).
Effects on Infants
Since most triplets are born prematurely, they will likely need to spend time in the NICU to be monitored until they begin to gain weight, maintain body temperature, maintain oxygen levels, etc. There are no exact rules on when your babies may be able to go home with you.
If your babies are in the NICU, visit them as often as you feel up to it. Infants in the NICU who are visited and held more often have statistically better outcomes. It will help you to bond with your infants and mediate some of the postpartum hormonal effects.
Pregnancy is an experience like no other, and that is especially true when we take a closer look at how it affects a woman’s body. Recovery may take longer for a multiple pregnancy than for a singleton pregnancy. Nevertheless, by establishing clear communication with your birth team, you can feel confident and prepared to handle your delivery and recovery time.
Many moms find it helpful to create a birth plan in advance of their labor and share it with everyone involved. Here is an example of one family’s triplet birth plan.