A multiple pregnancy refers to a pregnancy where there is more than one fetus involved such as a twin pregnancy. They are commonly caused by the use of fertility drugs or as a result of IVF treatments but can also be gained from a natural conception.
Multiple pregnancies can be complicated because the mother has to ensure the well being of all the babies involved. Sometimes there are issues with blood pressure, diabetes, premature delivery or miscarriages. In certain cases, one or all of the babies involved in a multiple pregnancy may suffer from a birth defect.
To avoid such complications, a multiple pregnancy has to be handled with the utmost care. Numerous babies are born from a multiple birth with no health issues because they were conceived with no complications, and the mother was careful with her health throughout the pregnancy.
It is essential to get an ultrasound as soon as you can during pregnancy. This will help you to identify how many babies you are carrying and assure you of their well being. Once the ultrasound indicates a multiple pregnancy you should be very careful with your pregnancy.
Frequent checkups and good diet
These are necessary to ensure that your baby is healthy, and you are healthy, as well. It is essential to attend each doctor’s appointment. You must also be free with your doctor about any puzzling changes you are experiencing so as to be assured of the health of your babies.
A healthy diet is crucial for the development of the babies. Ensure that you eat whole grain, fruits, vegetables and protein. Your doctor will prescribe any necessary prenatal vitamins to you, and it is necessary that you take them diligently.
When it comes to diet you should not over eat as it will lead to excessive weight gain. Excess weight gain may cause complications in a multiple pregnancy as it is likely to cause problems such as high blood pressure putting your life and the lives of the babies in danger.
Alcohol and drugs must not be taken at this time. In addition, any stimulants such as coffee or tea must be avoided or kept at a bare minimum.
Support and rest
Multiple pregnancies require additional care as compared to normal single baby pregnancies. This means that you need all the rest and support you can get from those around you. Do not engage in strenuous activities and hire help where possible. You must share the fact that you are carrying a multiple pregnancy with your family and friends to ensure they give you all the support you need.
Multiple pregnancies can be overwhelming as they present a big challenge. Some women are stressed by the idea of the commitment that is ahead of them and can go into depression. It is important that you share any overwhelming feelings of sadness with your doctor so that you can get assistance or medication to deal with it. Join a support group of mothers expecting multiple pregnancies to be able to bond with them and share experiences so that you do not feel overwhelmed by your upcoming responsibilities.
Why multiple pregnancy happens?
Multiple pregnancy takes place when a woman is confirmed to be carrying two or more babies in her womb. These babies can either come from a single or different egg cells.
Babies that came from the same egg (which was fertilized by a single sperm cell) are called identical twins. This fertilized ovum multiplied into two zygotes.
Identical twins can either be all boys or all girls. This type of twins almost shares the same genes and physical characteristics. They will look very similar but there will still be a distinct feature between the twins. They will also have different fingerprints.
Meanwhile, fraternal twins are products of two different egg cells fertilized by different sperm cells. Fraternal twins can be both boys and both girls or even a boy and a girl.
Multiple pregnancy connotes that there will be more than two fetuses involve. If there are three fetuses, they are called triples; quadruplets for four, quintuplets for five and the list goes on. Triplets are very rare before the introduction of fertility drugs. On the average, multiple pregnancies are delivered before the babies reach full term at 39 weeks. Twin babies can be born at around 37 weeks.
You might be wondering how genders are determined. Guess what? The fathers are the ones who dictate if the baby will be a boy or a girl. The father’s sperm carries either an X or Y chromosome. On the other hand, the egg cell from the mother carries only an X chromosome.
If a sperm carrying an X chromosome meets an egg cell, a baby girl will be conceived since females carry an XX chromosome.
The mother will have a baby boy if a sperm carrying a Y chromosome fertilizes an egg cell. Men naturally carry a XY chromosome.
There are speculations that in order to conceive the preferred gender for the child, husband and wife should do the deed at the perfect time. It is said that to become pregnant with a baby boy, intercourse should be done on ovulation day. Or if the couple wants a baby girl, they should have sex about four days before ovulation.
Other factors that said to dictate a baby’s gender are diet and sexual positions. However, there is still no proven method to determine the odds of conceiving either a baby boy or a baby girl. It will only be possible to predict the gender when a couple tries gender selection that is offered by several fertility assistance clinics.
What are the Factors that Result to Multiple Pregnancy?
- You are 35 years of age or older
- You take drugs prescribed by fertility doctors
- You and your partner try in vitro fertilization to get pregnant
- You are from an African descent
- Giving birth to fraternal twins run in the family
- You put taking birth control pills on hold
The advent of ovulation-inducing drugs and in vitro fertilization paved the way for more multiple pregnancies. Fertility drugs dictate to the body to make a few more eggs before ovulation thus increasing the chance that more than one egg will be fertilized. For in vitro fertilization, the doctor may plant a few fertilized eggs inside the woman’s uterus to give a better chance of having one or more offspring.
Am I carrying more than one baby?
If you and your partner made the effort to do the deed at the right timing, you might look forward to conceiving twins. Yes, it will be easy to confirm your pregnancy through home pregnancy test kits but only an obstetrician can say if you are having multiple zygotes or not. Here are signs and symptoms that may exhibit when you are expecting more than one child:
The doctor can do a fetal ultrasound to check how many babies are in the uterus and to examines the babies’ current condition. Additional ultrasounds may be required by the doctor to keep track of the babies’ development.
An OB can detect the heartbeats of the babies with a tool called fetal Doppler. This can be done in the late weeks of the first trimester. The heartbeat monitor will be used often to detect the babies’ conditions.
Presence of hCG in the body
Expectant mothers are expected to have an elevated Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels throughout the nine months of pregnancy. This is the hormone that is contained in the urine and blood of a pregnant woman. This sign does not confirm multiple pregnancy though this serves as a go signal to see your doctor.
Longer fundal height
Fundal height refers to the distance between the mother’s pubic pone to the topmost of the uterus. When a woman is carrying more than one baby, it is expected that her uterus will stretch more which will result to greater fundal height.
In connection to a longer stretching of the uterus, a mom pregnant with twins can gain 10 pounds or more. It is a bigger weight gain compared to a mom with only a single baby. However, there are still many things that can contribute to added pregnancy weight.
Carrying more than one baby can be overwhelming. It will be double the fun and the challenge. Being pregnant is the best time to be healthy. Remember that two individuals depend on you in terms of nourishment. Here are a few simple things to do to be able to achieve this goal:
- Keep a balanced diet. Indulge on “rainbow” food like vegetables and fruits. Also make sure to consume food that are rich in folic acid, iron, and calcium. These are the nutrients essential for the baby’s development. If you are having a hard time eating because of morning sickness, try to eat small portions of meals throughout the day.
- Quit all your vices connected with alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
- Take time to rest but do a bit of exercise once in awhile.
- Avoid skipping a doctor’s appointment.
- Don’t take over-the-counter medicines. Seek the doctor’s advice when taking new medication. Take only the ones prescribes by your OB.
- Ask the doctor first for the things you are allowed to use, do, and eat while you are pregnant.
As much as we want no complications during pregnancy, it is better to be familiar with these concepts so that it will be easier to see and feel the red flags. Problems concerning multiple pregnancy is different since it involves two babies developing side by side.
Vanishing or Miscarried twin
Many studies show that more pregnancies carry more than one zygotes but there are times that this extra zygote will not further develop. The term ‘vanishing twin’ occurs when the extra fetus disappears and the heartbeat is not detected by the doppler. It is speculated that the fetal tissue of the lost twin is absorbed by the surviving fetus or the placenta.
Conjoined or monozygotic twins are attached together through a particular body part. They can be joined together on the head, chest, or pelvis. According to research, this occur once in every 100,000 pregnancies. The cause of this condition is when a single zygote of an identical twins fail to separate into two fetuses. Conjoined twins can be separated several weeks after birth but this decision will depend on the doctor’s diagnosis.
To enlighten you more about topics related to multiple pregnancy, we debunk some myths that might be worry you:
Twins are always born via Cesarean Section
Not true. There are still thousands of women who give birth to twins via vaginal delivery. Though many OBs suggest that twins should be delivered via an incision in the uterus due to the risks.
Twins are usually born prematurely
Pregnancy reaches its full term by 39 weeks. However, most twins are born at 37 weeks are not considered premature as long as the babies are not underweight.
Twin and multiple pregnancies are results of expensive in-vitro fertilization and fertility treatments
Not true. There is still a high percentage of twins who were conceived naturally. Many couples around the world have no access to these fertility treatments. Though there are families who pursue in-vitro and fertility treatments in order to have kids.
Mothers do not have sufficient milk to breastfeed more than one baby
Not true. Right after conception, the body prepares the breasts for its future job as the milk machine. The mother’s bosom consists of milk ducts that automatically refill after every feeding session. The milk hormone called prolactin activates this function.
It is difficult to breastfeed twin babies
Not true. There are many nursing positions that can be done by mothers who have twin babies. These positions will enable the mother to feed and bond with both children. One popular position is the football hold wherein babies are clutched carefully under the arms of the mother. The babies are head to head from one another; facing their mama’s breasts.