What to Expect when Pregnant with Triplets?

Here's everything you need to know about being pregnant with three babies.

People that get married or live in an alternate living arrangement and choose to spend the rest of their lives together, eventually decide on having children. One of the most exciting moments for a couple is to find out that they are expecting. It’s a wonderful feeling for the couple and is also overwhelming at the same time. What happens when this couple, like so many before, finds out they are having triplets? How does that make the couple feel? Parents to be, regardless of single or multiple births are excited.

If a couple finds out they are expecting triplets, it’s going to be three times more overwhelming for the theme. The parents will have to plan and buy everything for three children. This can get quite expensive, but with social media groups for parents expecting triplets, and support from loved ones, any couple can master having triplets. Chances are they won’t get much sleep, but there is quite a bit of information about multiple births online, and as the triplets grow, they learn how to tune each other’s crying out so they can sleep.

Multiple Births

It’s a big surprise event for couples that find out they are expecting three children at once. It’s quite normal to go into shock and wonder how did this happen? Just because one is pregnant with three doesn’t mean that the expectant mother and her doctors will have to be more careful, but the majority of families with multiples do realize that having more than one child at once can be positive, enriching and a wonderful experience.

mother holding baby's feet

What Does Higher-Order Mean with Multiples?

When a woman has three or more children, they are known as “higher-order multiples”. This type of pregnancy happens when the egg splits into three, and more than one is fertilized, or all three can be fertilized simultaneously. The term “higher-order multiples” normally doesn’t happen unless the woman is on a fertility drug. These types of pregnancies don’t commonly happen naturally on their own.

Take Extra Care of Yourself When Expecting Three Children

A woman carrying triplets will still have the same triplet pregnancy signs as a woman carrying a single child. This is in regards to early pregnancy symptoms, like nausea, cramping, fatigue, etc. The only difference is that the symptoms will most likely start earlier. The symptoms can also be more intense than if they were pregnant with one child.

expecting triplets

A woman who is experiencing multiple gestations will need more care during their multiple pregnancies. A woman will start seeing a group of obstetricians, midwives and MRI and Ultrasound Techs, that have great experience with the “higher-order” multiple pregnancies. Women who are having triplets also might be sent to see a dietician during their multiple pregnancies. These women will have to undergo tests for gestational diabetes, which is a glucose test when they are expecting triplets.

They also will be considered high risk and have many ultrasounds to see if their babies are growing normally. Ultrasounds can also tell your doctor if there are any abnormalities to expect or other problems from early on. The main issue is the placenta and the cord because the cord can get wrapped easier around one of three, and the placenta might start breaking apart on rare occasions from the stress of multiple gestations.

The main issue with having multiple births are premature deliveries. This is why a woman works with a group of professionals who will help her take care of her health while she is carrying triplets. Having triplets makes women at higher risk for preterm labor, anemia, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, or preeclampsia, intense morning sickness, too much amniotic fluid around the triplets, miscarriage or stillborns, postpartum depression and postpartum hemorrhaging.

pregnant with triplets belly

This is considered dangerous because of heavy bleeding after the triplets are born. Some women need a D and C or they need a blood transfusion, from bleeding too much after multiple births or even single births after having multiple children.

Triplet Pregnancy Self-Care Tips

Women that are expecting triplets, will gain more weight and look much larger than women carrying one child. They grow bigger much more quickly and have to eat for four people. This is why it’s important to make sure you are meeting all of the baby’s dietary needs while you are pregnant. You probably will have to take more iron and folic acid, but look to your dietician for help with your diet.

Women pregnant with three get a few more annoying symptoms including more acid reflux, the dreaded varicose veins, and are constipated more often. Women carrying triplets will also have more problems with their backs, so it’s very critical to pay attention to your posture. Remember to bend knees when lifting anything so you don’t pull a disc out of place, keep your pelvis tilted forward if you are standing or sitting and lying down. Remember to think about using something to support your stomach, as your three little babies start to grow more.

triplets belly

The chances for premature labor are high so start working on the nursery early with your partner or family members. Take as many prenatal classes as you can and sooner than you would for a single birth. Look for classes that are designed for women who are expecting multiples, this is a good way to find support and meet new friends along with finding out new ideas for triplets.

Women carrying triplets will become very tired during the third trimester. A woman carrying multiples can not get as comfortable as a woman having only one child, so there are many nights that sleeping comfortably is impossible. Take as many naps as you can when you are tired during the day in your third trimester. In addition, drink lots of water to flush out any toxins and water makes you feel full and refreshed and is also good for your triplets.

When you are in the third trimester, you can walk a bit, but it’s time to taper off on as much physical activity as possible. That means don’t go moving around a bunch of furniture when carrying three children. You should also taper off on traveling too far from home in the third trimester. Most moms carrying triplets go on bed rest after they stop working.

woman pregnant with triplets

Women expecting triplets also stop working sooner than a mom expecting one child, so make sure you both have figured out a budget for your family. Dad most likely should get 12 weeks of family medical leave, or paid paternity leave depending on the company and which state you live in. This way you can both work as a team.

When to Expect Triplets Birth

All normal pregnancies last from 37 to 40 weeks for a single birth. Triplets are considered full term at 35 weeks and most triplets are born between 32 and 34 weeks. The “higher-order” multiples are born by 32 weeks. The rule of thumb is the more babies a woman is expecting, the earlier they will be born.

The longer a baby lives inside the uterus, the better it is for them to fully develop. When a woman is expecting triplets or multiples, the percentage of complications at birth is higher. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s better to be prepared if it does. If there are complications, it is better for both and the babies if they are born earlier.

The majority of multiple births are born by c-section or cesarean delivery. Your doctor and your team will make the decision when it’s right to deliver your children by c-section. They will make this decision based on the health of the mother and the babies if complications appear.

Women with multiple births that have c-sections spend more time in the hospital before the delivery and after the delivery. If you are having any symptoms of going into labor early, call your doctor immediately. Otherwise, have a safe and happy delivery and enjoy your triplets with your partner and your families!