Multiple pregnancies guide weeks 33-36

Week 33

You may be feeling short of breath, especially when you lie down, as your lungs are now cramped up to make room for your babies. It may help to prop yourself up on pillows at night so that you are sleeping semi-upright, and try to avoid anything too strenuous that may cause you to become out of breath.

Your babies are now around 1.8kg each and their organs are almost fully developed. Their bodies are putting down fat stores to help regulate their temperature after they are born, and their bodies will be covered in a fine downy hair known as lanugo. They are now able to differentiate between light and dark, and are able to make out dim shapes around them. Their eyes will not be able to fully focus until around 6 weeks after they are born.

Week 34

Your babies are now close to 2kg each. You may be starting to become anxious about the birth, and about how you will cope after your babies are born. Think about support systems you can put into place, such as friends and family members, and if you have an older child/ren to consider, think about who will look after them if you go into labour suddenly in the middle of the night.

If you have an older child/ren, you will also be thinking about how they are going to adapt to having two (or more!) new siblings. If your other children are fairly young, you might think about organising a small gift from their new siblings to them, and letting them pick  small gift for each of their new siblings, for example a small soft toy that they can put in the babies bassinettes or incubators at the hospital.

If your older children are at school, you might like to talk to them about ways in which they can be involved in their new siblings care, for example changing nappies, choosing clothes or feeding if you are bottle feeding.

It is also important to try and plan to have special, individual time with your older child/ren once the babies arrive. The babies will demand a huge amount of time and attention, and your older children may feel left out. Whether it's reading a story together, having a special "big kids" family meal or even a date to the movies or the local park, your older child/ren will appreciate having time alone with you without the babies interrupting.

Week 35

Have you thought about how you are going to feed your babies? The World Health Organisation has a Breast is Best policy to promote and encourage breastfeeding, and if you choose to breastfeed your LMC and the midwives who care for you during the postnatal period, will help you to get breastfeeding established. You can find some information on preparing for breastfeeding, and breastfeeding support here. There are a variety of breastfeeding aids designed to help you with tandem feeding (feeding two babies at once), your local Multiple Birth Club will be able to give you advice on which ones will suit you best.

Whilst breastmilk is the perfect food for babies, some women are unable to breastfeed, and some choose not to breastfeed for a variety of reasons. Breastfeeding multiples is certainly more challenging than breastfeeding a singleton, and whilst it certainly can be done, some mums of multiples choose to bottle feed from birth because it is more manageable for them. You can find information on bottle feeding here .

Whichever method of feeding you choose, your LMC should provide you with support and advice.

Week 36

You only have a few weeks left to go! By now it is likely that you will be spending most of your time resting as getting around has become difficult due to your size. If you have other children at home to take care of, you may find it helpful to arrange for friends or family members to come and help out so that you are able to rest more. 

Your babies will now be a little over 2kg, and between 45-50cm long. Multiples are usually a little shorter on average at birth than singletons as they have less room to grow, but they will catch up over the first few months of life.

Your babies development is almost complete, their lungs are now coated in surfactant, a substance which helps them to make the transition from breathing amniotic fluid in the womb to breathing oxygen at birth, and their sucking reflex is developing to enable them to feed effectively. If your babies are born now they should be able to breathe without assistance, but they may require a little help with feeding as their sucking reflex will not be fully matured until closer to 38 weeks.

Click here to see weeks 37 - 39




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