What Not To Say To A Parent Expecting Multiples

Expecting a baby comes with so much excitement, and that excitement is only multiplied when you are having more than one. Having multiples is a rare occurrence, according to Reproductive Facts, and a natural twin pregnancy is the most common type of multiple — occurring in about 1 in every 250 pregnancies. As you get to higher numbers, they become less common. Triplets occur in about one in 10,000 pregnancies, while quadruplets occur in about one in 700,000 pregnancies.

Since it's so uncommon to come across someone who is expecting multiples, you may be unsure of the right things to say when you do. Pregnancy is an exhilarating time, but it also comes with a lot of stress and anxiety for the expecting parents. This stress is often magnified when multiples come into play. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, pregnant people expecting multiples have an increased risk for preterm labor, anemia, birth defects, gestational hypertension, and miscarriage. This makes it even more important to ensure you aren't saying anything that could hurt or wound a soon-to-be parent of multiples.

Avoid saying these things to a parent expecting multiples

While you may be tempted to ask how they got pregnant with more than one baby, it's best to avoid this topic entirely when talking to the pregnant person in your life. According to Twiniversity, asking a person if they conceived their multiples naturally is overstepping by a lot. While a close friend may be okay with discussing their fertility, many, especially strangers, are not. It's also best to avoid asking if the babies are "natural.” At the end of the day, regardless of how they were conceived, all babies are just as natural as the next.

Parent Map also recommends avoiding saying anything about having their hands full. While you likely mean well by saying this, pregnancy can be a sensitive time for a couple and you don't know how a comment like this can send a new parent into a full blown panic. And while it may be common sense to never comment on weight, it's especially important to avoid this topic when talking to a pregnant person expecting multiples. An innocent "you don't look like you are carrying more than one!" could be misconstrued and land wrong to a parent who may be worried that their babies are not growing correctly. As a general rule of thumb, only comment on their appearance if you are letting them know they look fantastic.  

What not to say to a parent who has had their multiples

Even after the babies are born, it's still important to make sure you are being sensitive to any situation, including parents who are newly experiencing life with twins, triplets, or more. According to The Bump, don't ask a parent of multiples which kid they like best or if they can tell them apart — these comments are said so often and are really quite insensitive to not just the parents, but the kids as well. It's also a best practice to assume anything about their situation by saying "you're done, right?" or insinuating they can't handle the children they have.

So what can you say to a parent expecting multiples or parents who currently have multiples? KidSpot recommends saying things like "you are going to have twice the fun" or simply comment on how amazing they look (this works before and after pregnancy). It's also always a good idea to offer help — having multiples makes things just a bit more difficult during pregnancy and after birth. If you have a friend with multiples on the way, ask what you can do to make their lives easier, whether that's coming over to wash dishes or making a few meals.