A few months ago, Houston’s own Texas Children’s Hospital launched a new program especially for mothers pregnant with multiples called the Program for Multiples. Recently Houston Parenting Multiples Examiner had a chance to interview Karen Moise, the program’s coordinator. Karen is a mom of 3, nurse, and advocate for moms of multiples. She has been a registered nurse for over 30 years, and has been working with her husband – Dr. Kenneth Moise, a fetal intervention surgeon and maternal fetal medicine specialist – to help care for families expecting multiples for 7 years. She has been with Texas Children’s Fetal Center since 2006, and prior to working as fetal intervention coordinator there, she held a similar position at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She and Ken have 3 daughters, Rachael, Kaitlyn and Erin, who are all grown up and pursuing their dreams. In addition to her day job, she also has her own blog Miracles of Multiples and is a regular contributor to The Bump as their Multiples Expert.
Here is what Karen had to say about Texas Children’s Program for Multiples:
What is the Texas Children’s Program for Multiples?
“The Program for Multiples at Texas Children’s Fetal Center is a unique program that provides moms who are expecting twins or super twins (triplets or more) with a personalized one-day consultation about their pregnancy. The program is the first of its kind in the country, and consists of genetic counseling, an advanced ultrasound, a consultation with a maternal fetal medicine specialist, and a customized nutrition plan. We have designed Program for Multiples to be used in conjunction with the regular prenatal care that moms receive from their OBGYN. At the end of their consultation, moms are armed with a pregnancy “road map” to guide them through the rest of their pregnancy.”
Why is the program so important for future parents of multiples?
“A pregnancy with multiples requires special care and many times parents that are expecting multiples are missing crucial information that will help them to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. There are nutrition guidelines, additional ultrasound appointments and risk factors to consider – and each mom is different, which can add to the confusion! The Program for Multiples provides these moms with a one-stop, in-depth look into their pregnancy, where they will receive a personalized pregnancy plan. Parents have a chance to ask questions and consult with specialists who can offer them factual information about potential risks involved with multiple pregnancies, as well as what can be expected and what they need to look out for and be aware of. The Program is a way for parents who are expecting multiples to get the important information they need, tailored just for them, and return to their OBGYN with a detailed plan for their pregnancy.”
What does the program hope to accomplish?
“Through the program, we want to ensure moms expecting multiples have the most comprehensive information about their pregnancy and best pregnancy plan possible to ensure that they deliver the healthiest babies possible. A pregnancy with multiples is, by nature, high-risk. And twins or super twins are more likely to be delivered prematurely. But there are new standards of care that can help decrease the risks. For example, new guidelines for nutrition have been proven to decrease the risk of prematurity and increase birth weight in twins. Proper weight gain and nutrition can make a world of a difference, and yet, so many moms are malnourished during their pregnancies with multiples. In addition to nutritional guidance, we also provide a way to detect any potential risks that may be involved with a multiples pregnancy, such as Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and correct the issues as early on as possible.”
What tips to you have for a mom expecting multiples?
“My biggest piece of advice for moms who are expecting multiples is to ask a lot of questions. Research the best OBGYN for you in your area and consult with a doctor who specializes in multiple pregnancies. One of the most important questions that a mother of multiples should ask is whether she is having identical or fraternal twins, and if carrying an identical pregnancy, they should ask if each identical twin has its own amniotic sac and placenta. Knowing this will help doctors look out for and detect any early signs of TTTS or other conditions associated with identical twin pregnancies, so they’ll be able to correct the problem as soon as possible.”
Other tips include:
- Research the best, highest-level NICU in your area. Multiples are more likely to be delivered prematurely, and there’s a chance that your babies will need to spend some time in the NICU before they can go home. Doing the research ahead of time and creating a plan will save you stress and worry down the road!
- Monitor your weight. As I mentioned before, it’s really important to make sure you are gaining enough weight, at the proper time, during your pregnancy and getting the right nutrients. Now is your chance to pack on the pounds, but with healthy foods, please!
- Ask your doctor! Make sure to be your own advocate and check in on your stats, including your cervical length and the size of the babies, even requesting additional monitoring if necessary. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.”
Karen Moise’s blog, Miracles of Multiples
Texas Children’s Program for Mulitples
Texas Children’s new blog, Medicine, Milestones, Miracles
Texas Children’s Hospital launches Program for Multiples