on December 13, 2002
I thought this book was the single most useful book I read during my twin pregnancy. I have not found such a clear, concise and well-organized source of information on such topics as how much weight is necessary and healthy for an expectant MOM (mother of multiples) to gain, what a NICU is, who works there and what they do, premature babies and the problems they might have, EXACTLY what to expect if you have a surgical delivery, and most importantly, the special precautions that expectant MOMs should take throughout their pregnancies.
Reading this book helped me take the best possible care of my unborn babies and myself, not to mention making the most of my prenatal appointments, by educating me in detail on topics that other twin books only brushed across. When complications occurred I was prepared for them, I knew what was going on, and so I didn't panic. I did develop some potentially serious problems, gestational diabetes for me and IUGR for one of my sons (and no, I didn't develop diabetes from eating junk food; I have a family history of Type II diabetes). Despite these difficulties, I carried my identical twin sons to 37 weeks, and they weighed 5 pounds 5 ounces and 7 pounds 3 ounces at birth. My doctor later told me that overall, I had one of the healthiest twin pregnancies she had ever seen-normal blood pressure, no anemia, very few preterm contractions, no bed rest, and two healthy babies who were discharged to go home with me. I think the crash course in high-risk obstetrics that I got from reading this book is one of the chief reasons why.
I have read two major criticisms of this book from fellow reviewers. The first is that the tone is unnecessarily frightening. The second criticism was that the book offers advice on diet that is not, shall we say, orthodox. At least one reviewer complained that this book advised pregnant MOMs to "lay around and eat cheeseburgers all day," and that "apparently everything brings on contractions."
I would counter that the expectant MOM who will benefit most from the repetition of warnings about preterm labor is the woman who thinks that just because she's pregnant with 2,3 or 4 babies doesn't mean she shouldn't carry on in her usual Superwoman style. There is a perception, especially among younger, college-educated women, that any doctor who advises a pregnant mother to slow down and limit her physical activities is a neo-Victorian throwback who thinks that pregnancy is a disease. As the first among my girlfriends to get pregnant, I heard a lot of this sort of talk. My (childless) workout buddy even tried to convince me to ignore my OB's orders and exercise anyway! The fact remains that even for a healthy, fit, woman, a multiple pregnancy carries higher risks for mother and babies than a single pregnancy does.
By all means think for yourself: if your doctor advises restrictions on your activities, or changes in your diet, you should certainly ask why. Likewise, if you disagree with the advice offered in this book, discuss it with your doctor. But do remember that while pregnancy is a very limited time in your life, it is a time of literal life-and-death importance to the babies you are carrying. No, a diet comparatively high in protein and fat and low in exercise is not what is healthy for most people, but for a limited time period and for a specific purpose you will survive it. The point is to give your body the nutrients it needs to build all those babies, and the time and energy to do so. You may have your own ideas about how to achieve that goal--but make sure they are in line with the actual needs of a multiple pregnancy and not some fantasy of what pregnancy "should" be like!
To sum up, whether or not you initially agree with the advice this book offers, open your mind and give it a chance. The book includes reams of information that you won't find anywhere else, and multiple pregnancies really are different. If you are expecting multiples, throw out "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and read "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads" instead.
on December 29, 1999
When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I looked to pregnancy books to help, but they approached twins as "a little extra pregnant". It wasn't until this book that I started REALLY knowing how to care for myself and my 2 babies. It saved my pregnancy and my sanity. A MUST! For example, the worshipped "What to expect when you're expecting" books gave me absolute INCORRECT information regarding exercise, diet, weight gain, working... and I spent the first part of my pregnancy miserable that I was losing weight and feeling awful. Something in my gut told me that 10 pounds in the first half of the pregnancy wasn't enough for twins. Also, the diet they wanted me to follow was making me throw up every day. My body, again, told me to just eat whatever I could keep down, but "THE BOOK" made me feel guilty about even LOOKING at a cheeseburger. Well, again, THANK GOD I found Dr. Luke and Tamara's book. It confirmed everything I'd already felt was right. Plus, it is written with a great positive attitude with so much encouragement. I would not be having such a healthy pregnancy without it. I will never stop being grateful for this book! I've told so many people about it and am happy to spread the word. READ IT READ IT READ IT!
I have several of the leading books that cover twin and supertwin pregnancy, and this is by far the best of them all. First, this is one of only a handful of books devoted primarily to multiple pregnancy, as opposed to what you do with the babies once they are born. It therefore covers in much greater depth issues like special dietary requirements for multiples, signs of preterm labor, how to cope with bedrest, and more. I bought this book shortly after my multiples were diagnosed because I didn't want advice on whether to give the babies rhyming names or let them sleep in the same crib -- I wanted guidance on how to get through my high-risk pregnancy with as few complications as possible, so that I would be able to go home with two healthy babies. And this book does an excellent job of educating you about potential problem areas (without being unduly scary) and more importantly, listing concrete and do-able things that will maximize your chances of avoiding these problem areas. Second, this is one of the few pregnancy books that isn't patronizing, cloying in tone or hopelessly dumbed down. The authors clearly respect their audience and this comes through in the style and tone. Third, this book is written by people who know of what they speak: a physician who runs a moms of multiples clinic at a well-regarded teaching hospital, and a medical journalist who has twins herself. Also, anecdotes taken from real moms who survived multiple pregnancy are interspersed throughout, giving excellent tips and helping reduce that "I'm a freak" feeling one can get when instead of having a blissful trouble-free pregnancy, one has to deal with serious medical issues. If you are pregnant with twins or supertwins, you owe it to yourself and your babies to read this book and discuss it with your doctor.
on October 27, 2000
My girls were born at 31 weeks -- we got even THAT far because of Dr. Luke and Tamara's book. I read this one from cover to cover several times. It was the only book I was able to find that really explained in detail the difference between a multiple pregnancy and a singleton. I've experienced pregnancy and birth five times, but my twin pregnancy was completely different in almost every way. It was because of Dr. Luke's advice that I put myself into a Perinatologist group's care, and because of their proactive care when I began to show signs of preterm labor, my twins arrived at 31 weeks instead of 26 or 28, as they were threatening to do. Because of this book's eating plan, my girls also arrived at excellent weights for their gestation age -- 3 1/2 lbs and 4 lbs. While I was hospitalized prior to their births, the information this book provided prepared me to handle the interventions that were necessary; gave me enough knowledge to ask the right questions on my specific condition; and helped me to accept without shock and fear the special needs of my newborns in the NICU. We've been very blessed -- our girls are doing fine and are coming home after less than 3 weeks in the hospital. If it wasn't for all the information in Dr. Luke and Tamara's book, I would have been a basket-case! Instead, I understood what was going on at all times, and the need for certain procedures both for me and the girls. I honestly believe that my twins are here strong and healthy because of the information this book provided. It is a must-read for all parents expecting multiples.
on September 18, 2000
This book is worth its weight in gold. I was shocked to find out I was having twins and came across this book which opened my eyes to how different a multiple pregnancy is from a singleton pregnancy. I read and reread this book during my pregnancy and even read it now after the twins have arrived - it was a fabulous resource on everything from my emotional state to how and what to eat to how to survive once the twins arrive (I am surviving just fine!) to how to eat while breastfeeding multiples. I truly believe that this book and the information in it played a large part in me carrying my twins to 35 1/2 wks and them being born large (6 lb 1 oz and 6 lb 3 oz) and healthy. I urge you to get this book if you're expecting more than one baby - you need to understand what is going on in your body and understand how important nutrition and rest is for your growing babies - Dr. Luke explains it all in a way that is easy to understand and comprehend. Good luck!
on September 12, 2002
I wrote a review of this book back in January of 2001. At the time, there were only a few of us who had read and reviewed it. In reading over the subsequent reviews written after this date, I found most people were pleased with the information and advice Dr. Luke provides. For the most part, I was too. However, there were a few readers who, like me, critiqued the book for its slightly alarmist slant and unreasonable dietary recommendations. Now that my fraternal twin boys are 15 months old, I wanted to follow up on my review and offer a retrospective critique.
I still rate the book with three stars for the same reasons I gave in my previous review. As a vegetarian, one of the real drawbacks of the book was lack of any advice (other than one paragraph exhorting the expectant mother to switch to a red meat based diet on page 68)on a vegetarian pregnancy. Also the sheer volume of food recommended was unmanageable for me. (I broke down and cried thinking that I had been doing everything wrong!)I also do not think the approval of burgers, fries, ice cream, and other junk food to maintain caloric intake, if even if just on occassion, is sound advice. Based on most of the reviews, I realize I'm in the minority in my views, but for those of you coming away from this book feeling more anxious than comforted, take heart! I remained vegetarian throughout my pregnancy (I did eat dairy and eggs) and ate when my body told me it needed food. I did drink lots of water. Pre-term labor, my biggest fear, never came true. I got to 39 weeks and my twins were 7.2 and 8.5! Even I was astonished. Was I merely lucky? My doctor didn't think so. What was more, within two months after giving birth, I was within five pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight since I hadn't consumed any empty or unnecessary calories. (I gained about 50 pounds total). I would again emphasize that there is a lot of good advice in this book, BUT read other things AND listen to your doctor. If you are a slightly more anxious expectant mother (I was!), one of the best things you can also do is join a Mothers of Multiples club in your area (you can join even before giving birth) and talk to some real Mommies who can give you a variety of perspectives, otherwise it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and at times overly worried.
on February 13, 2002
When I got pregnant with twins, I searched every available resource on the topic. I bought five books most of which discussed issues like names and whether or not to dress your twins alike. I read those books in about two hours and got very little information. I read this book cover-to-cover about ten times! Since I had some minor complications at the end of my first singleton pregnancy, I only imagined the worst with this pregnancy.
This book is unlike any other twin pregnancy book. The number one goal of this book is to help you carry those babies as long as possible. The longer those babies stay inside, the higher likelihood of having healthy babies. This books details warning signs of premature labor, tips for getting the most out of what you eat (cheeseburgers are not off limits), reducing morning sickness, and in-depth descriptions of the NICU. If the story about the co-author's twins doesn't convince you to take better care of yourself, this book has comparison pictures of head circumference and feet prints at various stages of pregnancy just to illustrate how small a premature baby really is. This book does highlight many problems associated with prematurity, the leading problem with twin pregnancies. If you are approaching your twin pregnancy with an open mind and the understanding that you may delivery early, this book will help you take a very active role in reducing many of your risks.
I credit Dr Luke and Tamara Eberlein with the fact that I delivered twin girls at 38 1/2 weeks (scheduled c-section after I begged my doctor to 'get these babies out!' after I still hadn't gone into labor). My girls were 7 lbs 6 oz and 6 lbs 11 oz. They left the hospital with me after 3 days. My nurse told me that I was one of the most hydrated person that she had ever seen. I told her that Dr Luke's book told me to drink drink drink as much water as possible and I did. The nurse told me that it was probably a factor in having such a lengthy twin pregnancy. Good Luck!!
on March 15, 2000
Out of all the books that I can find on twins, this one has given me the most useful and practical information. It is up to date, and written by a Dr. who runs a clinic in Michigan just for multiple births. It is full of guidelines and helpful suggestions on making your pregnancy enjoyable no matter what happens. Instead of worrying me terribly about all of the "risks" in carrying twins, they calmly and reasuringly tell you what can go wrong without making you a nervous wreck. This book also tells you how to prevent these "problems" before they happen and what to expect if they do. There is a list of places to contact with questions in the back that also helped me. I am very thankful that I found this book. It has been and will continue to be an excellent resource for my pregnancy and beyond. I think that it should be required reading for any parent(s) expecting multiples.
on September 23, 2008
This book was one of the keys to my healthy twin pregnancy. True, it's hard to follow the nutritional advice to the letter, but you just do the best you can. I promise that if you're not a big fan of meat, you will get used to it when you know that you're helping your babies grow. The book also contains nutritional advice for vegetarians. I started out at a BMI of 18 and carried my twins to 38 weeks (scheduled c-section, never went into labor) with no complications and no bedrest. Both were born at about 6.5 pounds each, spent no time in the NICU, roomed in with us at the hospital, and came home with us. Doctors, nurses, etc were impressed at their size and health. The advice in this book drove me to make sure that my workweek did not exceed 40 hours (with a note from the doctor and a desk job which made it possible), and my husband handled literally all household chores starting around 30 weeks when I really needed to have my feet up after work. Dr. Luke says not to expect to work past 28 weeks but I think it's possible if your managers are supportive, if you can stay off your feet, and if you can limit stress on the job. I worked up to 37.5 weeks. Drink water, water, water! My only trip to L&D due to having more than 6 contractions/hour were due purely to dehydration. If you're expecting twins or supertwins, get this book! I was reluctant to buy any book on multiples until I passed my 12th week (didn't want to jinx myself with all the scare on vanishing twin syndrome), but this book has lots of info on maximizing the outcome of your pregnancy as soon as you know you're pregnant with twins/multiples so if you're not afraid of buying before 12 weeks, then this is a must read. Also contains helpful advice on surviving the first few weeks at home with your new babies.
on February 5, 2007
When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads is a wonderful book.
My wife is expecting twins, and it was great to find a book with so much vital information. We're a young, college educated, type-A personality couple, so the advice for multiples is sometimes hard to swallow. But the best thing about the book is its heavy bibliography, which adds major credibility. Much of the material is probably going to be unfamiliar to the average General Practitioner, but it's closer to the forefront of medical knowledge than what is typically found in an advice book. And yes, the big point of the book is "eat more, rest more". The book retains some of the political correctness of the typical pregnancy guide and softballs vegetarianism and other difficult-to-touch choices. Ramadan fasting gets no mention, for example. But it's nowhere near as bad as the pandering you get in some guides. Mostly, Luke and Eberlein call a spade a spade.
It would have been helpful if Dr. Luke had included five pages describing in detail where the information contained in the book came from, since that is the crux of much of the criticism she has received in her rare negative reviews. Dr. Luke is a real doctor. She's just not a MD. She's a Johns Hopkins educated researcher in maternal and fetal medicine, and is published in prestigious journals. ScD equals PhD - it's just another name for the same degree used at a few schools, notably Hopkins, MIT and Caltech. She's a professor at a solid medical school, for pete's sake. Dr. Luke would probably be stumped if asked to perform an emergency appendectomy, just like your OBGYN would be stumped trying to design a double-blind study to determine how much, if any, DHA/RHA supplement pregnant women should consume. But I'm not a medical professional, so I would like to have more information about how standard medical advice is created, so I could better judge what's contained in the book.
This background would be helpful, because of the state of medical advice on multiple pregnancy. It's still a research area, and your doctor might not be well informed. There are no official guidelines on diet, for example, that differentiate from singletons. Doctors highly experienced in multiples are thin on the ground, so it's nice to read a book written by someone with a great deal of experience and research credentials. You may be getting inadequate advice, and it's nice to be able to tell.
Yes, the book is a little bit scary at times, but so is parenting. If reading a big book and eating more steak is the hardest thing you have to do as a parent, you'll be alright. It's well written, and reassuring in its way.