Get Answers to the Most Common FAQs on Twins, Triplets and Multiple Pregnancies
Got more than one baby? Then your mind will be bombarded with a lot of questions, as multiple pregnancies are different from normal single pregnancy. Without further ado, we bring the answers to the most common and pressing questions on multiple pregnancies. Take a look and satisfy your curiosity.
Why and how multiple pregnancies happen?
This would be the first natural question as ‘why me’? By the time you think something else, it needs to be clarified right off the bat that twins and multiple pregnancies occur naturally in two different situations.
- When an egg gets divided after fertilization to form identical or monozygotic twins.
- When two eggs are fertilized simultaneously, also known as dizygotic twins or fraternal twins.
How common are twin births?
As compared to other countries across the world where the twin pregnancy rate is high, the occurrence in India is fairly low. It is estimated that 9 in 1000 birth results in twin pregnancy in India. About one-third of the twins are estimated to be identical or monozygotic, two-thirds of them are non-identical or dizygotic.
As far as triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, and septuplets are concerned, they do make headlines, but the occurrence is rare.
What are the natural factors that increase the likelihood of having twins and multiples?
Several factors can increase the chances of getting twin or multiple pregnancies. Below are some of the most common:
- Family history is an important factor especially when it comes to non-identical twins. If there are twins in your mother’s family, you are most likely to get a twin set for yourself. Unlike non-identical twins, identical twins do not run in families.
- Age also plays an important role. Women aged over 30 are more likely to have twins as compared to younger women. This is because follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) increases with the age. As a result, the ovaries release several eggs every month.
- Weight and height also matter. Women who are obese (BMI of over 30) are more likely to get multiple pregnancies as against women with healthier body mass index. Similarly, taller women are more likely to conceive twins. According to a study, women with an average height of 5.5 feet have more chances of getting multiple pregnancies.
- African Americans have a high rate of twin pregnancies as compared to Asian.
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How are multiple pregnancies different from single pregnancy?
You might feel ok while carrying twins or multiples, but more than one pregnancy inside automatically raises chances of risk. You will need to visit the doctor frequently or some women choose to stay with the gynaecologist for close monitoring. Moreover, women with triplets or more will likely to be referred to a high-risk pregnancy specialist known as perinatologist.
The uterus will be growing more quickly. For instance, at 28 weeks of pregnancy, the uterus of women with twins will be of the same size as 40 weeks or full term single baby pregnant women. Many will feel uncomfortable and experience a range of eating issues such as loss of appetite or getting full quickly. Also, fetal kick counts will be a lot more as compared to normal pregnancy.
What are the signs and symptoms of a twin or multiple pregnancies?
More than one pregnancy brings a whole lot of body changes. You may notice:
- Severe morning sickness because of the high quantity of hCG hormone in the body
- The bump will be larger in size and appearance
- Rapid weight gain during the first trimester
- Breast tenderness increases
Are there any risks of twin pregnancy?
Risks increases with the number of babies. If you are pregnant with multiple babies, below risks should be in your mind.
- Preterm labor
- Premature delivery most probably before 36 weeks
- Low birth weight less than around 2.3 kgs
- Risk of tangling of the babies in the umbilical cord
- Uneven blood flow in babies sharing the same placenta (twin-twin transfusion syndrome)
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How are multiple pregnancies diagnosed?
By the time you reach 12 weeks gestation, your healthcare provider or gynecologist will perform ultrasound examination to confirm your multiple pregnancy status, if have. Your uterus would be larger and there will be more than 1 fetal heartbeat. It rarely happens that multiple pregnancies remain undiagnosed until birth.
The doctor may also suspect multiple pregnancies if the mother feels an excessive amount of fetal movements or during the blood test, high level of hCG hormone is detected.
Is labor different in multiple pregnancies?
In most of the cases, twin or multiples are born earlier than the single pregnancy. This is because the number of babies directly affects the pregnancy time. Typically, twins are born at around 38 weeks while triplets normally stay inside for 34 weeks.
Secondly, vaginal birth is also possible in case of twins in about 50 percent cases. Also, the position of the babies during birth is also most of the time different than normal.
What can I expect after birth?
Once your babies step out into this world, there are more challenges awaiting you. If your babies were born early or have some complications, you may need to spend extra time in the neonatal intensive care unit. When you are home, managing multiple babies will also be a challenging task. You may want to seek the help of midwives, nurses or lactation expert for breastfeeding your babies properly.
Postpartum depression is a common condition that affects new moms and with multiple births, this can increase manifold. So make sure you are in touch with your doctor.
Twin pregnancy may be a challenge for you, but at the end, you will get double the joy. If you are having multiple pregnancies, make sure you have the proper support network of family, relatives, and friends. Eat healthy and do some light exercises as you must be physically and mentally fit to take up the challenge. Talk to your doctor if you have more queries.