A multiple pregnancy occurs when a woman’s uterus contains two or more fetuses. The children may be born from the same (identical) egg or from distinct eggs (fraternal).
A multiple pregnancy necessitates extra attention and might put both the mother and the babies at risk. It’s critical to understand what to expect during multiple pregnancies, labour, and deliveries, as well as potential difficulties and how to commit to taking the best possible care of yourself and your children.
When one egg is fertilised by one sperm, identical babies are born. After that, the fertilised egg divides into two or more embryos. Although identical newborns share a placenta, they usually have their own amniotic sac. Identical twins have the same sex, blood type, complexion, hair, and eye colour as their parents.
Fraternal babies are born when two eggs are fertilised by two separate sperm. Each has its own amniotic sac and placenta. Fraternal babies might be of either sex, have distinct blood types, and look different from any other siblings. Multiples and fraternal twins are prevalent in some families.
What is the cause of multiple pregnancies?
If you do any of the following, you’re more likely to have several pregnancies:
- Use fertility medicines to help you produce multiple eggs at once, boosting the chances that one will be fertilised.
- Use in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technologies, in which eggs are blended with sperm in a lab and injected back into your uterus, with multiple fertilised eggs inserted to boost your chances of producing baby.
- You’re 35 years old or older
- From Africa
- Have you ever had fraternal twins?
- Have a history of fraternal babies in the family (on the mother’s side)
- You’ve recently stopped taking birth control tablets.
What are the signs and symptoms of a multiple pregnancy?
If your uterus expands more quickly than usual, or if more than one foetal heartbeat is suspected, your healthcare professional may suspect multiples.
A foetal ultrasound, an imaging test that employs sound waves to create photos of your uterus and the number of babies you’re carrying, can confirm a multiple pregnancy.
What are the dangers and complications of having several children?
Every pregnancy comes with its own set of dangers, but the likelihood of difficulties grows with each baby you carry. Every day, healthy multiples are delivered; nonetheless, it’s crucial to be aware of potential difficulties, such as:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) (preeclampsia)
- Diabetes during pregnancy (occurs while you are pregnant)
- Premature birth, which occurs before the baby’s organs have fully developed.
- Underweight at birth
- Birth malformations or genetic disorders
What should I expect if I have numerous pregnancies?
- Checkups and testing on a regular basis.
- Track your fetus growth and development and look for indicators of preterm labour to keep an eye on your health.
- You may need frequent foetal ultrasounds or another testing in addition to regular physical checkups, blood and urine tests.
- Don’t miss your appointments if you want to keep yourself and your children healthy.
- Proper nutrition is essential. A balanced diet, a prenatal vitamin, and any supplements your doctor may give are all good ways to start.
- More weight gain is expected. Your doctor will decide the appropriate weight growth for your health and that of your children.
- Rest and minimal activities are recommended. Staying healthy necessitates adequate rest.
- Your doctor may advise you to reduce activities such as work, travel, and exercise as your due date approaches.
What effect will having multiples have on my labour and delivery?
The number of babies, their position, weight, and health, as well as your health, all influence how your babies are born.
Vaginal delivery of twins is possible.
The first twin may be born vaginally in certain situations, but the second twin may require a C-section in others.
C-section deliveries are usually regarded as the safest option for triplets or more.
Your doctor may advise you to deliver in a facility that specialises in high-risk pregnancies, depending on your health.