Artificial Insemination and Multiple Birth

Multiple birth isn't uncommon in pregnancies conceived with fertility treatments, and parents are often surprised to discover that they'll be having more than one child at once. Being prepared, both emotionally and financially, for two or more new additions can help ease the transition to multiple children.

More Multiples
While multiples used to be fairly rare, they are becoming more common with the increase of women undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Women who don't use artificial insemination to conceive have a 1 in 89 chance of having multiples. Women who use IVF to become pregnant increase the chances that they'll have multiples to 20% to 40%. IUI alone doesn't increase your chances of having multiples; however, most women who undergo IUI also use fertility drugs, which can raise your chances of multiples by up to 20%.

Caring for multiples can be difficult on new parents. The most important thing you can do is to line up extra help for when you get home from the hospital. Learning how to feed and take care of two or more babies at once is even more emotionally and physically draining than it is for one baby. Ask friends and family to help around the house-cooking, cleaning and catching up on laundry-while you learn about and bond with your babies. 

If you don't have family and friends close by (or you'd prefer not to rely on them), consider hiring a postpartum doula to assist you after the birth. A benefit to hiring a doula is that she understands how important it is for you to bond with your babies-so while your mother-in-law may hold your twins while you cook dinner, a doula will cook, giving you time to adjust to breastfeeding two babies at once.

Financial Considerations
The financial challenges that come with multiples frighten many parents-to-be. The cost of having multiples is higher than having two or more children spaced apart, because instead of passing down items such as cribs and clothes, you must buy several of everything at once. If you nurse, food will be (for the time being) free.  Formula and solid foods will cause your grocery bill jump up. 

Although affording multiple children at once can be a difficult task, with a little planning it's not impossible. Look for a support group for parents of multiples to learn tips that have worked for other parents. Paying for college can be daunting, too, so it's important to sit down and figure out how much you can afford to put away as soon as possible. 

While you may not have planned on having multiples, being parents to several children at once can be rewarding (and, yes, exhausting). Plan as much as you can in advance but keep in mind that no parent is ever fully ready for the road that lays before them.

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