Last month, Sue and Noel Radford (from Channel 4’s 21 Kids and Counting) announced their pregnancy with baby no. 22! The Radford’s are now Britain’s largest family. Their gender reveal on social media disclosed Sue is having a baby girl! Huge congratulations to Sue, Noel and their family!
When these announcements are made, lots of questions are often asked; what does it mean to have lots of babies? Is it safe? What are the risks? This blog is going to look at having lots of babies!
The terminology for having lots of babies is ‘multiparity’, often shorted to ‘multips’. Women who have over five babies are termed as ‘grand multips’ and women like Sue who have over 10 babies, are ‘great grand multips’!
Things to think about when having lots of babies
These are a few things to think about if you are planning to have lots of babies!
Every pregnancy is new, exciting and different. You may have had similar pregnancies in the past or found that with each one different problems arose. This pregnancy maybe completely different to the rest, which is why it is so important to treat mother and baby with individualised and holistic care.
Attend all your antenatal appointments – This is vital to ensure the well-being of you and your baby. You will need checks on your blood pressure and to ensure that baby is growing well. Antenatal advice changes all the time so it’s important that you see your health professionals and keep up to date.
Keep your iron levels up – The more babies you have poses a potential higher risk of having a bleed after the birth. By keeping your iron levels high, you will cope better with any blood loss at birth. This is essential if you have lots of other children to care for after this one is born!
Fetal movements – Your baby will develop his or her own pattern of movements. This will change with every pregnancy and every baby. If there is a change in the pattern, an increase or reduction in the movements for this baby, you must talk to your midwife straightaway – or call triage or the labour ward out of hours.
Place of birth – This is a risk of heavy bleeding (haemorrhage) with multips. However, there is also research that suggests this may not be the case. All multiparous women need to be assessed for their individual risk factors. The previous pregnancies and births needs to be taken into account when discussing place of birth for this baby.
Antenatal classes – You can attend refresher classes with subsequent pregnancies. The class will recap the process of labour and pain relief options. Things can change quite quickly in midwifery so a class is a good way to find out about new information. This can be particularly useful if there has been a large gap between babies.
Plan who will look after your children when you go into labour – Or if you need any hospital admissions during your pregnancy. If your pregnancy is low risk, you go into spontaneous and all is well afterwards, you could leave hospital six hours after your birth. However, it is better to plan for a longer admission just in case you need to stay a few more days in hospital.
All hands on deck! You will need lots of help and support after the baby is born. Speak to your family and friends about their availability. Depending on how many children you have and their ages, it might be sensible to devise a rota for school runs and help with little ones at home.
Pelvic floor exercises will be paramount after your pregnancy. This becomes more important with each pregnancy. If you don’t strengthen these muscles, it can lead to incontinence of urine and/or faeces which isn’t pleasant! One of my guest blogs from Grace Lillywhite explains how to do these exercises. They can be started antenatally too.
Good luck with your pregnancy!
If you wish to book a refresher class with me, get in touch with me here.