A twin pregnancy is significantly more likely to result in bed rest for the mother. After all, mom is carrying two babies and will not only be uncomfortably large as the pregnancy progresses, but is at higher risk for other pregnancy complications. However, bed rest with a twin pregnancy doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
My wife’s modified bed rest required that she stay off her feet for several hours everyday during the end of our twin pregnancy.
The key to helping your wife survive bed rest during your twin pregnancy is to identify everything she does during the day and find a substitute.
Dad, you have an important role in helping Mom survive bed rest. Here are some ideas to make bed rest during the twin pregnancy go more smoothly:
As a stay at home mom, my wife’s primary responsibility during the day was to care for our two preschool boys. To help alleviate the toll of child care, we called in helpers every afternoon. We had friends with similar aged kids come over to play with our boys. We paid a baby sitter on some days to play with our sons while my wife rested.
Every day there was a certain block of time scheduled where my wife could rest with her feet up and either I or a friend would help watch our other children.
We stocked our freezer with ready-to-cook meals (many received from a freezer meal baby shower). This helped reduce time in the kitchen and let others besides my wife quickly prepare meals for the family.
Our church group also generously brought us meals.
If you can’t stock up ahead of time, make list of all your favorite local food delivery or take-out restaurants.
You’ll need to reset your expectations of a clean house with twins. A bed rest pregnancy helps you face that reality even before your twins are born.
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
During our twin pregnancy, we had friends come over and help clean, paid some teenagers to clean other times, and even had our other kids step up and help out more.
If mom is the taxi in your family, you’ll need a different driver. Consider carpools with others for activities. You may even want to adjust your work schedule if needed so you can pick up kids or run the errands that your wife used to do.
Working while pregnant with twins is an extra challenge on top of caring for home and family. If your work is more flexible than your wife’s job, adjust your schedule to help fill in the gaps discussed above. Encourage your wife to seek alternative work options that allow her to stay off her feet.
Eventually the time will come to leave work to finish the pregnancy and deliver the babies. Remember that under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA in the United States), both the mother and father can use up to 12 weeks of leave for prenatal and post-pregnancy care. Your company will likely have specific policies on how that time is allocated (vacation vs. sick time or time without pay).
Make Your List
Make your list of everything your wife does during the day around the house, at work, or in the community.
Review the list and decide what can be cut. Yes, a twin pregnancy will require that some activities are dropped until a post-delivery time. With each item, ask, “Does this absolutely have to happen each day?” and “What is the worse that can happen if this doesn’t happen?”
Take what is left on the list and write the names of people that can help with those items. It may be you, it may be a neighbor, friend, family member, or help from your church group.
Get Mom Comfortable
Bed rest can be boring, uncomfortable, and even miserable for Mom. However, there are things you can do to make the most of bed rest during your twin pregnancy.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Make bed rest as comfortable as possible with entertaining distractions (movies, books, magazines), comfortable pillows, ready-made meals, and friends to come over and help.
What about Hospital Bed Rest?
If your twin pregnancy has severe complications or risks, your doctor may require that you spend your bed rest in the hospital under constant monitoring.
Hospital bed rest is no picnic. Help make the most of any time in the hospital by maintaining as much of a routine as possible, decorating the room (if allowed), and hanging out with friends and family visitors.
Remember that when people say, “If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know,” that is your chance to enlist helpers. These people will be invaluable to you as you deal with bed rest during a twin pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and commit people to specific things they can do to help you.
If you make your list as outlined above, you’ll know exactly where these well-wishers can pick up some slack and help out.
You want your twins to continue growing in the safety of mommy’s womb for as long as possible. Do everything you can to let your wife rest and you’ll make it through your bed rest during the twin pregnancy and significantly increase your odds of avoiding premature twins or time in the NICU.
Picture by Liz West