Twins and Multiple Birth

Multiple pregnancies have been on the rise in recent years with increasing numbers of twins and other types of multiples being born. Generally, the growing use of fertility drugs is attributed as the main reason for this rise. However, they are not the only reason why twins are born.

Conception
There are a number of different reasons why a multiple birth may occur:

  • Multiple eggs are released or there is more than one ovulation during your menstrual cycle. Two (or more) eggs are fertilized resulting in fraternal twins. This can occur naturally or through the use of fertility drugs.
  • In the case of identical twins, one egg is released and fertilized but divides in two. This can happen with or without the aid of fertility drugs.
  • In cases of IVF or other reproductive technologies, there are usually 3 or more fertilized eggs put back into the uterus. The rationale is that not all of these will implant, though sometimes they do.
  • How do I Know if I�m Having Twins?
    Many people learn about their multiples at an early ultrasound. Others find a rapid rate of growth in their uterus causing them to suspect twins. If this is your second child, however, you may not want to be so quick to assume you're having twins. It is common for your stomach to grow faster during a second pregnancy compared to your first pregnancy.

    Sometimes multiple heart beats can be heard, leading your practitioner to believe that there is more than one bundle of joy in your uterus. Other times, during your prenatal tests, the doctor may find abnormally high levels of hCG since multiple babies will increase the levels of these hormones. The more babies you are having, the faster the rate of rise in hCG. In single births, hCG should almost double every 48 hours. Only a very small number of twin pregnancies remain undetected until birth.

    Preparing for Multiple Pregnancies
    When you are having a multiple pregnancy, it is necessary to increase your nutritional intake even more than you would with a single pregnancy. In general, you need to increase the amount of protein that you eat. Protein is the building block of every cell in your body and your babies' bodies. It will help you build a good placenta and a strong amniotic sac. A healthy diet will also help fight against infection.

    As for your health care provider, you will want to find a midwife or doctor who has experience with multiple births. Youd don't want someone who will panic at every corner. While the amount of care you receive will generally be the same as a single pregnancy, you will probably see your practitioner more frequently towards the end of your pregnancy. You may also have more testing than most women during pregnancy, but not always.

    Healthy Pregnancy
    Here are some tips to help you have a healthy pregnancy:

  • Proper Nutrition: Low birth weight is one of the most common problems with a multiple birth. However, following a healthy diet can help lower your babies' risk of this complication. Thus, when eating for three or more, be sure to consume about 300 additional calories along with one additional protein serving, one additional calcium serving and one additional whole grains serving.
  • Extra Care: Expert medical monitoring can help reduce many of the risks associated with multiple pregnancies. By adhering to your appointment schedule � which will be more frequent � you can ensure that you are getting the best care possible.
  • Increased Weight Gain: Due to the extra baby and the extra baby by-products, your practitioner will most likely advise a carefully monitored weight gain of at least 35 to 45 pounds.
  • Proper Rest: Since your body will be working twice as hard, it will need twice as much rest. Ensure that you take regular breaks from your daily actvities. Getting at least eight hours of sleep will also ensure that your body is properly rested. Yor doctor may prescribe taking an early leave from work, getting help with the housework and even bed rest at home.
  • Complications of Twins and Multiple Pregnancies
    There can be a higher risk of complications with twins than with single births. Along with the regular monitoring of fetal growth and normal complications of pregnancy, like high blood pressure, you will also be monitored for complications specific to multiple births, such as intrauterine growth retardation and twin-to-twin transfusions.

    Giving Birth to Your Twins
    In years past, cesarean was the common way for delivering multiple births. However, vaginal birth is usually very safe for multiples, who frequently need the stimulation and rise in hormones levels associated with labor. Whether or not you will have a vaginal birth will depend on many factors, including the position of the babies and how the babies tolerate labor.

    If your babies are in a position where neither can move, they are said to be locked. These babies will have to be born via cesarean. Breech babies really depend on the size of the baby and the skill of the practitioner. Usually if one of the babies is head down, a vaginal birth will be attempted. If the second baby is breeched or transverse, an internal or external versiom may be attempted to help out with the birthing process.

    Recommended Link
    Do you have an interesting, funny or amazing story to tell about your twin or multiple pregnancy? Visit Pregnancy Stories to share your experience, and perhaps a few pearls of wisdom, with other expectant moms.


     

    Feeling excited but overwhelmed by your multiple birth pregnancy? Get some advice from other women who've had multiple births in the forum

     

    Login to comment
    (1 Comments)

    Post a comment

    marissaN
    i\'m 28 weeks pregnant with twins and i can\'t believe how heavy i am. i already look like my friends with one baby did at the end of their pregnancies. i can\'t believe i am going to get bigger than this. i dont know how my skin will stretch any further without breaking. and i am so uncomfortable. i can\'t find a sleeping position i like even with the full body pillow. it helps but not enough. maybe i\'ll go into labor earlier because it is a multiple pregnancy. i am already ready to push these babies out.
    3 years ago