Pregnancy Info
Pregnancy Facts
Pregnancy Help
Pregnancy Information
A Healthy Pregnancy
Childbirth Options
Postpartum - After Delivery

Twins and Multiple Pregnancy

There are a couple different ways twins and multiple pregnancies can occur including both genetically and with the help of certain fertility medications. Those mother that are expecting twins or having a multiple pregnancy are in for quite a ride while pregnant. Keep reading to learn more.

Becoming pregnant with twins or multiples can be a scary and overwhelming thought for many new moms. However, there are tons of support outlets available with other moms of multiples who offer advice and encouragement to those new moms who have either never been pregnant with multiples before or those first-time moms who find themselves expecting more than one baby. To start, let's go over how twins and multiple pregnancies occur. 

The associated factors as to why twins can occur in pregnancy might be due to a few different reasons including racial origin since twins are more common among certain ethnicities like the Nigerians. Family history or genetics are other contributing factors to if twins occur in a pregnancy, but usually only around the mother's side of the family. The father's contribution to the likelihood of twins has not been confirmed by science. Age is another factor that might contribute to a woman having twins if she is in her late 30's when trying to conceive. If you already have twins or multiples, you will have an even greater chance of having them again. 

Identical vs. Fraternal Twins:

Identical twins take place when for an unknown reason the fertilized egg ends up splitting during the first 14 days after conception. Because of this each twin will get the same genetic makeup so they wind up looking identical. However, more and more cases of identical twins is being attributed to when the mother has had ovulation inducing drugs, or in vitro fertilization (IVF). This can make the egg's outer layer more likely to split. These ovulation inducing medications can also cause multiple eggs to be released at ovulation. This is the process that causes fraternal twins to take place. With fraternal twins, there are usually two eggs at the time of conception and both are fertilized resulting in two separate embryonic sacs. These twins will not look identical and can even be two different sexes. With identical twins sometimes it takes until the babies are older for their facial features to distinguish enough to determine if they are identical or not. Sometimes if the babies are both the same gender it can be difficult to know if they are going to be identical or not. A clear scan during the pregnancy can also shed some clues. If the technician can see a single placenta, this means the babies are identical. If there are two placentas, it could go either way. It is difficult to determine. 

Twins and Multiple Pregnancy:

Being pregnant with twins or multiples can seem extremely overwhelming. You will need multiples of most baby supplies and clothing as well as feel like you need even more hands to raise these children. However, with so many resources now available to moms of multiples, it is important to those who are expecting a multiple pregnancy to seek help from others who have been there before. Pregnancy with multiples or twins can be more of a daunting task as well. Those with a twin or multiple pregnancy are often considered high risk since preterm labor is so much more common in multiples. Doctors and health care professionals typically have to monitor the growth of the twins or multiple fetus' more closely than in comparison with a single pregnancy. Mothers might have to get more ultrasounds and have more frequent doctor visits to help ensure things are moving more smoothly during pregnancy. Depending on how the pregnancy is progressing, the mother might be encouraged to visit a perinatalogist to seek assistance with any pregnancy complications. Mothers also are expected to gain more weight (about 35 to 40 lbs) during pregnancy and are required to eat more calories than a mother with a single baby. Because of this it is even more important to monitor the mother's blood glucose levels to ensure gestational diabetes or too low of sugar levels does not occur. Drinking tons of water while pregnant with multiples can prevent cramping from occurring and can help prevent preterm labor. It is rare for twin and multiple pregnancy to continue the full 40 weeks gestation. 

Vaginal Birth or Cesarean Section Delivery:

Many women might have heard that twin or multiples are most often delivered via cesarean section (c-section). However, that is not always the case. Often times the mother can deliver her babies naturally depending on the position of the babies in the uterus during labor. Vaginal birth can be difficult if the babies are position in a way that is difficult to deliver vaginally. If one or both of the babies appears to be in distress, the mother is then encouraged to have a c-section. However, that does not always occur. 


Related Article: Pregnancy Ultrasound >>