Pregnancies With Multiple Births, Twins, Triplets, Etc.

June 11, 2019

What is a multiple?
When a woman carries more than one baby in her womb during pregnancy, it is called “multiple births.” When a mother gives birth to twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets or even more babies, they are called multiples. These babies may be genetically identical or genetically different (fraternal twins). Thanks to assisted reproductive technology (ART), it is becoming increasingly common for women to conceive and give birth to multiple babies at one time. Multiple pregnancies also occur naturally without medical intervention.

What is an identical multiple birth?
The embryo consists of a single egg fertilized by a single sperm. Sometimes, the egg splits into two, producing genetically identical twins. If one of the eggs divides again, triplets are produced. Four or more identical babies may be produced from a split egg, but this is much rarer than twins or triplets. No matter how many times an egg divides, the babies are 100% genetically identical and of the same sex. About 3 or 4 out of every 1,000 live births are identical twins.

What is sibling multiple births?
If a woman releases more than one egg per month, it is possible for multiple eggs to be fertilized at the same time. Each egg has a different gene and is fertilized by a different sperm. This results in multiples that are genetically unique, or siblings. These babies may be of different genders. They may or may not look like any other genetically unique fraternal twins. Fraternal multiple births are more common than identical multiple births.

Is it possible for multiples to have different fathers?
Women have a certain number of days each month to conceive. If a woman releases two or more eggs during this fertile period, the eggs may be fertilized at different times. If a woman has more than one sexual partner around the time of ovulation, it is even possible for the eggs to be fertilized by different men. In the same pregnancy, different fathers may conceive multiples at different times.

Communication begins in the womb
Many parents of twins have noticed that their children have unique ways of communicating with each other. They may even have their own secret language. A study of twins in the womb found that during the 14th week of gestation, the babies make special movements toward each other. These gestures are intentional, not accidental. More research needs to be done to see if the same behavior occurs in triplets, quadruplets, and other multiples.

giving birth to multiple children
Women who are pregnant with two or more children may deliver their babies by cesarean section, or Caesarean section. Doctors will make an incision in the lower abdomen and uterine wall to deliver the baby. Women who are carrying two or more babies at the same time may encounter more potential complications if they attempt to deliver their babies vaginally. In cases where the health of the mother or baby is at risk, a cesarean section may be necessary. Many twins and most triplets, as well as many more multiples, are born by cesarean section.

What is infertility treatment?
Fertility treatments can increase a woman’s chances of getting pregnant at one time. Some fertility drugs can increase the number of eggs released by the ovaries. More eggs means a woman has a better chance of getting pregnant. It also means that she is more likely to carry a sibling to term for multiple births.

What is in vitro fertilization?
This is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which a woman is first given fertility drugs. Eggs are extracted and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory process and the resulting embryo is then implanted in the woman’s uterus. The resulting embryos are then implanted in the woman’s uterus. Sometimes, two or more embryos are placed in the uterus to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. In this procedure, if more than one embryo is successfully implanted, the woman may end up carrying more than one embryo.

Does the mother’s age and race matter?
African-American women have twins more often than women of other races. Asian women are the least likely to have twins.A little more than one-third of American women over 30 have babies.Women over 30 are more likely to release two or more eggs during ovulation, so older women are more likely to carry more than one baby. This is a natural phenomenon and does not require fertility treatment. Hormonal factors are likely to be responsible for this effect.

Does it matter how tall the mother is?
Mothers carrying multiple babies at a time are, on average, 1 inch taller than those carrying a single baby. Taller women tend to have higher levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a hormone that may be responsible for this effect. This hormone stimulates the ovaries to release many eggs at once.

Milk increases the chances of multiple births.
ovarian stimulation
One study found that women who consumed milk and dairy products were more likely to have multiple births than women who were vegetarians. Vegetarian women had twins at one fifth the rate of vegetarian and omnivorous women. This effect was especially pronounced in areas where cattle were treated with growth hormones. In the study, consumption of dairy products from growth hormone-treated cattle was supposed to increase insulin-like growth factor, a hormone that stimulates the ovaries to release more eggs. A different study, however, concluded that there was no difference in hormone levels in the milk of treated cows compared to conventional milk.

Other factors in multiple pregnancies
Multiple pregnancies run in families. Women who have sisters or mothers who have had fraternal twins are about twice as likely to have fraternal twins themselves as sisters. Women with a higher body mass index (BMI) are also more likely to have fraternal twin pregnancies.BMI is a measure of body fat. If the BMI is higher than ideal, it is detrimental to your overall health.

What are the risks of premature birth?
Premature birth is very common when a mother is carrying multiple babies. Babies born at less than 37 weeks of gestation are considered premature and are likely to have low birth weight. Premature birth is a common risk in multiple pregnancies. Babies delivered at 39 or 40 weeks of gestation are considered full term, and newborns born before 32 weeks are more likely to have long-term health problems, including vision problems, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, and possibly brain damage. During pregnancy, doctors watch for signs of fetal distress and monitor for the possibility of preterm delivery.

What is preeclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a condition in which a pregnant mother can develop high blood pressure and may also experience vision problems, headaches, vomiting, and nausea. This can happen to any pregnant mother, but is more common in multiple pregnancies. This condition can be treated with medication. Pre-eclampsia usually disappears after delivery. Frequent and adequate prenatal care can reduce the risk of complications for both mother and baby due to preeclampsia.

Prenatal care is vital
Mothers with multiple pregnancies have a higher risk of potential complications, so frequent checkups are necessary. The fetus is also at increased risk in multiple pregnancies. The doctor will track the growth and development of the fetus. The doctor will monitor the mother’s weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other factors. The doctor will also look for signs of preterm labor.