Ottawa Twins Plus Prenatal Classes

I am so very happy that our paths have crossed…..You have reassured me in more ways than one, trusting myself, accepting and understand the challenges and beautiful moments ahead……Thanks again for being such an inspiration and a source of support.

Marie-Eve, Ottawa, Ontario, pregnant with twins.

Some miscellaneous, but pertinent, issues discussed include:

  • similar or rhyming names, the pros and cons (Tim and Tom or Andy, Mandy and Randy – need I say more?);
  • order my multiple-birth prenatal DVD from this Site, Main Page, if you are on bedrest, there are no multiple-birth specific prenatal classes in your community or do not wish to deal with crowds and possible illnesses;
  • one full day (usually a weekend);
  • private classes (price available on request); and
  • if you have expecting families in your area and would like to get together for multiple birth classes, ask me about coming to you. Very reasonably priced.

Some of the topics covered are listed below. Families are provided in depth handouts on a wide variety of topics pertinent to raising multiples, and when available, free product samples.

Content Outline of Ottawa Twins Plus Prenatal Classes
Note: I am a member of the Ottawa Community Prenatal Committee and as such, have written and developed the content for multiple birth prenatal classes. This content is included in the “Minimum Objectives and Content for Prenatal Classes” which is adhered to by prenatal instructors in the Ottawa and Area community prenatal classes. This prenatal content binder is offered for sale to other Health Units across Canada.

The birth of a child brings excitement and joy and the majority of parents find themselves enrolled in Prenatal Classes, wanting to learn all they can about their impending birth and the days afterwards. Prenatal Classes help parents understand what is happening to the pregnant woman’s body, learn about Mom’s increased nutritional needs, how to properly prepare for delivery and to understand why a c-section may be necessary over a vaginal birth. Classes usually include instruction on breathing techniques to help ease some of the pain of labour, assist with the delivery and to provide Mom’s partner with information on how to best support Mom. It is very common for the classes to include a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where your baby may be required to spend some tim e should he/she be delivered early or have some other anomaly that may need monitoring.

In addition to the foregoing, twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets have special issues through the pregnancy to birth, which also need to be addressed. As a result of a multiple pregnancy, there are additional concerns that both Mom and Dad/Partner will benefit from being aware of well in advance.

Multiple births are always called ‘high risk’ and for parents expecting multiples, this is a good label. What it means is that you are followed more closely by your doctor, can expect more blood tests, ultrasounds, fetal monitoring and you have specific, additional nutritional needs as a result of simultaneously carrying two or more babies. As your babies have a very good chance of either being born prematurely or being of a low birth weight, it is not uncommon for Moms to be put on bedrest for even some portion of their pregnancy. While twins are often preterm or of a low birth weight, for triplets and quadruplets, the risk is even greater. Most triplets and nearly all quadruplets are born by c-section.

Some of the items covered in Twins Plus Prenatal Classes include:

  • signs and symptoms of premature labour
  • possible bedrest and how to pass the time creatively
  • birthing expectations (some parents have expressed dismay at how crowded the delivery room was however everyone present is essential and each has their own responsibilities and job to do.)
  • possible loss of one, more or all of the babies (in the delivery room is not the time to learn about loss. In spite of our best efforts, from time to time things don’t work out as we would have hoped. It is important to be aware of your rights as parents to see the baby(ies), hold them, bathe them, dress them, take photos, should you desire)
  • getting the babies on the same schedule
  • sleep deprivation and how to work with it
  • Partner’s role (It is extremely important that both parents be actively involved in the parenting of your babies. For the partner working outside of the home, it may be as simple as listening about what has occurred all day and acknowledging that ‘it sounds as if you have had a very busy day’. How about bringing home supper or a bouquet of flowers to your partner? Even a half hour break so that Mom can have a shower or leisurely bath can mean a lot.)
  • safety issues (having two or more children at the same age presents some safety issues that parents, grandparents and anyone else looking after your children need to be aware of.)
  • preparing your singleton child(ren) for the arrival of their multiple birth siblings
  • preparing your pets for the arrival of your babies
  • recognizing that you both will be sleep deprived (it comes with the territory 
  • prioritizing your house, your home, your time (a spic and span home will just not happen for a few weeks at least. It won’t always be that way but for the moment, it will be necessary to focus on your babies and yourselves. How can that be bad?)
  • postpartum depression (PPD) can be an issue. (It is important to know the signs of PPD, recognize that it is a diagnosis, is usually treatable and to speak to your doctor if you feel that you are suffering from PPD.)
  • multiples can also put a lot of stress on a marriage. Be sure and remember to take time for each other, to listen to and to support each other. Parents tend to put themselves on the bottom of their Lists but once in a while, it important to switch the list around. If you don’t look after yourselves and take some time for yourselves, there will be no one in charge of looking after your babies as resentment, sleep deprivation and unhappiness sets in. It is OK to hire a couple of babysitters (or friends or family) and to take a walk together, to go for a coffee and remember the reasons that you are together in the first place. Communication is extremely important as well as both parents being actively involved in looking after the babies but recognizing that you also need time alone with each other.
  • simultaneous feeding. While we are all aware of the benefits of breastmilk, some parents of multiples, especially higher order multiples, will find it necessary to supplement. There are many excellent books available on breastfeeding and they are listed on my Web Site together with some breastfeeding information. There are also many wonderful and supportive resources within your community whom will assist you if breastfeeding is what you want to do. You are not a bad parent because you may need to supplement or choose to bottlefeed.

Some miscellaneous issues addressed are:

  • constantly dressing the babies/children alike (while we love that we have multiples, we may not be doing them a favour in presenting them in such a fashion [pardon the pun] as the public cannot tell which is which. Ridicule and derision will be directed at your kids and not to you. Is that what we really want for our kids?);
  • to separate or keep together in school (the decision needs to be made with input from the teachers, school principal and yourselves.);
  • cloth vs disposable diapers (this topic results in amazing debate but in the end [another pun], decision will be yours.)
  • similar or rhyming names, the pros and cons (Tim and Tom or Andy, Mandy and Randy – need I say more?);
  • order my multiple-birth prenatal DVD from this Site, Main Page, if you are on bedrest, there are no multiple-birth specific prenatal classes in your community or do not wish to deal with crowds and possible illnesses;
  • one full day (usually a weekend);
  • private classes (price available on request); and

Do you have families in your local area expecting twins, triplets or more and would like to offer them Multiple Birth Prenatal Classes?

Lynda is available for one or two-day Multiple Birth Prenatal Classes, as your clients might need. The class content would include: what to expect at delivery, signs & symptoms of premature labour, Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, nutritional needs during pregnancy, safety issues with multiple toddlers, getting them on the same schedule, breastfeeding issues (with a 16 minute video), Dad/Partner’s Role, preparing singleton siblings for their arrival and much more! Loads of handouts are included covering such issues as Zygosity Testing, spending time on Bedrest, Multiple Birth Facts & Figures, Multiple Birth Terminology, stroller purchasing and more.

If this sounds like something you might like to offer in your area, please contact Lynda at haddon@istar.ca or (613)267-6754 for more information.