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Table of Contents
|Appendix A: Best Recipes for Moms-to-Be of Multiples||307||(60)|
|Appendix B: Resources for Parents of Multiples||367||(6)|
Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy
Your Unique Pregnancy
Tamara: As I lay flat on the examining table, the radiology technician smeared my bellywith greasy jelly, then turned the screen toward me. I was about to catch my first glimpseof the baby that had been growing inside me for 18 weeks.
But as she slid the probe across my abdomen, she began to frown. Pushing the screen toone side to block my view, she fiddled with the knobs. Then she stepped into the hall tosummon a doctor. Together, they manipulated the dials of the ultrasound machine, whisperingand pointing.
Trying to squelch a sudden rush of fear, I choked out the words: "What is it? Is somethingwrong with my baby?"
The doctor turned the screen to face me again and said, "Well, here's what we've got.This is a leg, and an arm, and this is the head. And now, over here, we see a foot, and aback, and another head -- twins! And they look just fine."
If you too have joined the ranks of expectant mothers of multiples -- twins, triplets, even quadrupletsor more -- congratulations! You're now in a special group whose membership is swellingmore and more each year. Between 1975 and 2000, twin births rose by 100 percent. Duringthat same period, the birthrate of "supertwins" or "higher-order multiples" (meaning three ormore babies born together) surged a whopping 587 percent.
You've probably got a thousand questions and concerns about your pregnancy, but chancesare, you've had trouble finding the answers you need. "As soon as I found out that I was going to have twins, I read everything I could find on the subject. Yet most pregnancy books have onlya page or two about multiples, and the books devoted to twins focus on taking care of thebabies after they're born," says Judy Levy, mother of twin girls and an older daughter.
Or perhaps you succeeded in finding some material on multiple pregnancy but were putoff by its gloom-and-doom tone. "Everything I read about having twins seemed so frightening,as if the writers were saying, 'You will definitely have all sorts of problems -- and yourbabies will too.' I couldn't bear to read that scary stuff," says Stacy Moore, mother of twinboys. "What I really needed was some sensible advice on the specific steps I could take to avoidcomplications and give my babies the best possible start in life. And I found it -- at a specialclinic for expectant mothers of multiples, where I learned that many problems associated withmultiple births are preventable. I did everything they told me to do, and my whole pregnancywent very smoothly. My twins were born big and healthy at full term, weighing 6 lb., 11 oz.,and 6 lb., 1 oz."
Dr. Luke: Here's where I come in. As a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at theUniversity of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and a researcher and nutritionist, Ifounded the clinic that Stacy Moore attended, and directed it for six years. This is the MultiplesClinic we refer to throughout the book, and many of the mothers quoted participatedin this program.
I'm now a professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida,where I'm working with experts from renowned universities across the country, as the UniversityConsortium on Multiple Births.
Our goal is to improve pregnancy outcomes -- in other words, to help our patients havethe healthiest pregnancies and the healthiest babies. To achieve that, we provide specialprenatal care, including patient education, risk screening, and intensive nutrition therapy.
The Multiples Clinic program works. Our clinical success proves it. Compared to theaverage mother of multiples, women who follow our guidelines experience significantlyfewer complications before the birth of their children. For instance:
- Our expectant mothers develop fewer infections.
- They have less trouble with high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
- The moms in our program have a lower incidence of preterm premature rupture of themembranes.
- Our patients are hospitalized for preterm labor less frequently, and they spend fewerdays in the hospital if they are admitted.For infants born to our moms, the results are even more impressive:
- Triplets born to mothers in our program weigh 35 percent more at birth, on average, thantriplets typically do. That's very significant, given that the average birthweight fortriplets nationwide is just half that of the average singleton.
- Our twins are generally born 20 percent heavier than the average twins delivered at thesame gestational age.
- Two out of three of our newborns weigh more than 5½ pounds at birth, and one out offour is born weighing more than 6 pounds. These birthweight figures, which are significantly better than the average for infants of multiple-gestation pregnancies, prove thatyou can break the "rule" that says twins are always born small.
- Sixty percent of our mothers of twins deliver at 36 weeks or later, compared to onlyabout 40 percent of twin moms nationwide.
- Our babies are healthier at birth, regardless of when they are born, because they havegrown well right from the start of the pregnancy.
- Infants born to patients in our program go home sooner than the average multiple-birthbaby, spending only half as much time in the hospital. (Their hospital bills are only halfthe average too!)
Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy. Copyright © by Barbara Luke. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Excerpted from When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy by Barbara Luke, Tamara Eberlein
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.