Multiple pregnancies always need special care and monitoring, especially when there is more than one baby. In these cases, it’s important to be extra vigilant about tracking your health and the health of your babies. You’ll likely need to see your doctor more often, and you may need to stay in the hospital for part of your pregnancy.
Identical twins occur when one fertilized egg splits into two. These babies always have the same sex and share a placenta. All of us have a one in 250 chance of having identical twins, but this number increases if there is already a history of twins in the family.
When two eggs are fertilized by two different sperm, fraternal twins occur. These twins have two different placentas, but sometimes these fuse together during pregnancy. If the mother has a history of twins, fraternal twins are more likely.
Multiple births usually occur when the fertilized eggs split into multiple embryos. Triplets, quads, quins and sextuplets can happen this way and they’re usually fraternal, although identical triplets are possible.
In today’s world, the most common instances of multiple births come as a result of fertility treatments. When drugs are used to encourage the ovaries to produce more eggs, there is a greater likelihood of multiple births. IVF can also lead to a multiple pregnancy if more than one fertilized embryo is placed back into the mother. This is often done in order to increase the chances of at least one embryo surviving.
Mothers carrying more than one baby at a time must take extra precautions, as there is an increased risk of premature birth or low birth weight. Some ways to manage this include staying on top of doctor’s appointments, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough rest. Additionally, it’s important to avoid stress as much as possible and to have a support system in place.
Women expecting multiple births are typically monitored more closely than those carrying a single child, as premature birth is more common. This is especially true for women expecting triplets or more, for whom medical staff will take extra precautions.
Being a twin can be both a blessing and a curse. Sure, you always have someone to rely on and compare yourself to, but when it comes down to things like birth weight, being a twin usually means that you’ll be smaller than if you had been born alone. Oftentimes, one twin will be noticeably smaller and weaker than the other, which can cause problems down the line if not corrected early enough. The good news is that, most of the time, the size difference levels out eventually – though sometimes not until adulthood.
During a multiple pregnancy, there are a few extra things to be aware of in order to help keep the babies healthy. One is monitoring the blood flow between them. If blood ends up crossing the placenta and going between the babies, it can cause one to be anaemic (not enough red blood cells) and very pale, while the other becomes polycythaemic (too many red blood cells) and dark red in color. Luckily, this condition is treatable with regular checkups and medical supervision if necessary, but it’s still important for all mothers carrying more than one child to be aware of.
Mothers who are carrying more than one baby must also take more rests. If contractions start too early, doctors can administer drugs to relax the womb and give the babies more time to develop.
Multiple births are more likely to be delivered by caesarean section. But there is no reason why twins should not be delivered vaginally providing both their heads are in the down position. However, some medical experts suggest that if the twins are in different positions, it may be safer to deliver them by caesarean section.
A mother who is delivering twins or more is at a greater risk for haemorrhage, but the medical staff will be aware of this danger and take all necessary precautions to deal with it.