Pregnancy with multiples

Pregnancy with multiples

Couples planning their parenthood with fertility clinic assistance often inquire about how high their chances are to bring two or three babies to this world at once. Some dream about twin pregnancy, and for some, it is a pleasant surprise. Such pregnancies are more difficult because the fetuses require twice as many nutrients, energy, and care. So, it’s crucial to detect pregnancy with multiples early and provide that a doctor carefully monitors the proper development of the babies.

The majority of the pregnancies are singleton, meaning that a woman carries one baby, but in recent years the frequency of pregnancies with multiples has increased. Of course, they happened in the past as well, but they were not as widespread as they became in the last decades. There is a reasonable explanation for what caused such an increase.

What is worth knowing about pregnancy with twins

Pregnancy with multiple fetuses occurs when sperm fertilizes multiple eggs, what as a result, two or more babies start growing in the womb. It may happen if more two-three eggs mature during ovulation and are released.

The twins that are born from two initially separate cells are so-called “fraternal twins” (non-identical). In this case, every fetus is considered to be a separate pregnancy. However, sometimes, after fertilization, one egg can split into two cells, and two fetuses start developing. In this case, you will be a mother to identical twins.

If your doctor confirms that you are pregnant with two fetuses, your chances that your children are identical twins are approximately about 30 % Twin pregnancies are not that common – approximately 1 in 250 cases. But the rise of ART in 1980 induced a steep leap in multi-fetus pregnancies. The odds of having twins are tremendously high for women who undergo treatment related to infertility issues.

For example, the application of ovulation induction (both with and without insemination) and IVF has resulted in a significant increase in the number of pregnancies with multiples. It is a clear-cut fact that the IVF success rates increase with every year, as well as the number of pregnancies with more than one child due to such a procedure. The reason is that most couples opt for transferring multiple embryos to increase their chances of success.

What signs can indicate that you expect twins?

It is quite hard to claim that there are any specific signs that indicate twins in pregnancy. The only way to know for sure is the ultrasound diagnostics; the doctor will see the fetus(-es) on the screen. If there is more than one baby, you can also hear two or three heart beating. This procedure is the only reliable way to identify how many children you are bearing in your womb. However, if you notice the following clues, you can suspect that there is not only one baby to expect and have a good reason to visit an ultrasound expert:

  • A feeling of movements in different areas of your womb at once.
  • Severe breasts pain.
  • Rapid weight gain during first three months of pregnancy.
  • Your morning sickness is severe.

You should understand that these signs are highly precarious and mostly plucked out of thin air, and the only way to be sure you are pregnant with multiples is to visit a doctor, who will run some tests and perform ultrasound diagnostics because there are no 100% accurate symptoms for pregnancy with twins, so you may be misled.

At consultations, fertility doctors often hear the question “How do I get pregnant with twins?” from women seeking medical advice on reproduction. It should be explained that there is no certain way to induce multiple pregnancies, but there are some factors that may impact it:

  • Family history. A general belief is that women who come from families, where twins are born often, or who themselves are one of the twins, are more prone to the same pregnancy pattern. Statistics confirm that women coming from non-identical twins get pregnant with multiples approximately 1 per 60 cases. Meanwhile, the number of twins or triplets pregnancies in couples where a man is one of the non-identical twins is sufficiently lower – 1 per 125 births.
  • Fertility treatment. It is the main factor that raises up your odds of such a pregnancy. For example, during ovarian stimulation, it is possible that more than only one egg will be released from an ovary. Furthermore, some couples opt for the transplantation of multiple embryos in the course of the IVF procedure in an attempt to ensure successful implantation and avoid the need for additional IVF cycles because of financial reasons.

There are tons of information about how to boost your chances of conceiving twins with some special diets, practices etc., but you have to realize that these pieces of advice are rarely (almost never) based on any evidence or scientific findings. There is no data that confirms that any type of diet or activity increases your chances of giving birth to more than one baby in one pregnancy.

What risks are associated with twin pregnancy?

Any pregnancy is immense stress for a woman’s body. Being pregnant with two or three babies is even harder, for it requires more energy, nutrition, and effort; that is why pregnancy with multiple fetuses may present an increased risk of maternal-fetal complications. Given that, women with multiples are extremely carefully monitored by gynecologists and fertility experts in order to detect any signs of complications or deferrals early or prevent any possible issues.

The most frequent complications threatening a mother include the following:

  • Gestational diabetes. It is a condition when your sugar levels in blood increase during the pregnancy period. It affects up to 10% of pregnant women and may severely impair their health and the health of their future child. For this reason, a woman with this condition should be carefully monitored, and one should follow a special diet to eliminate the impact of this disease. The good news is that it usually disappears after birth.
  • Gestational hypertension. It is a condition when your blood pressure is high due to your pregnancy. It usually develops after the 20th week of pregnancy, and as well as gestational diabetes, it disappears after the child is born. If not treated, this disorder may cause serious issues in the fetus.
  • Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. It is a condition when the liver can’t perform its functions properly and does not release sufficient digestive fluids. This disorder usually disappears after the delivery.
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth. Since pregnancy with multiples is immense stress for the woman’s body, miscarriages may occur. Sometimes it happens that one of the fetuses dies, while another one survives and can develop properly.

It’s worth accentuating that when carrying more than one fetus, both mother and baby are more susceptible to complications or adverse events. In pregnancy with multiples, kids are more prone to complications and various severe disorders.

 

The most frequent issues in babies during pregnancy and after birth are as follows:

  • Premature birth. In pregnancy with multiples, preterm delivery is quite frequent; almost half of the twins and almost all triplets are born before time. Children born too early have more health problems than those born after the 37th week of pregnancy. They very often require some additional medical care after birth, such as intensive therapy or other medical interventions. In some severe cases, premature-born kids may experience the consequences of those early health issues for all their life.
  • Birth defects. Such disorders and conditions are already present in children when they are born, meaning that they are not acquired. Such defects are more widespread among the children, who were born in multiple pregnancy than those born from singleton ones. These defects may cause problems with different organs and systems, the most common are the disorders related to the neurological system, cardiovascular and digestive systems.
  • Low birthweight. This complication is quite widespread among the children who were born from pregnancies with multiples. Such fetuses are usually smaller, because they have to share the nutrients, they get form their mom, so it means that each of them gets less than if they would have in singleton development. Insufficient weight means that your child may not be strong enough and underdeveloped, so it may require some additional medical care or doctor’s attention.

In the case of triplets, the statistics are even more concerning. Babies born from a tripleton pregnancy have 20% of a major handicap, a 17-fold increase in cerebral palsy, and a 20-fold increase in death during the first year after birth (as compared to singleton pregnancy). For this reason, it is so important to get a medical consultation with a medical professional. Nowadays, many clinics offer different medical and fertility services at a reasonable price, and every year, they become cheaper and more available.

Remember that there are no signs of pregnant belly indicating triplets or twins pregnancies; the only way is to consult a gynecologist or an ultrasound expert in a certified fertility clinic.

Parens Fertility is a leader in the field of reproductive medicine in Ukraine. With our help, hundreds of couples managed to overcome their infertility issues and feel the blessing of parenting a child. We provide a wide range of services – from gynecologist consultations to IVF procedures and surrogacy. With our accurate ultrasound diagnostics, you can find out the sex of your child, the number of fetuses and our doctors will do all their best to detect any defects or pathologies in the fetus timely.

If you plan to get pregnant or have any questions about your fertility and pregnancy, do not hesitate to call or text our manager to discuss your issue or schedule a visit to our fertility expert, who will provide you with all the necessary information and treatment. We can guarantee that we will provide you with the best quality services as well as with the support and help you seek!

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