By Dr. Bharati Kamoji
Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful journeys in women’s life. Sometimes a twin or triplet pregnancy just happens and it can be a surprise for expecting parents. It is common to feel anxious, scared and emotional to have twins. A woman may experience intense pregnancy symptoms with twins along with more pregnancies complications. It can increase the chances of high-risk pregnancy but one must not worry much as high-risk pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean it is dangerous. However, it is important to consult with your doctor and choose what’s best for you and the baby.
Understanding what causes twin pregnancy
Twins are of two types; identical and fraternal twins. Identical twins are the result of a single egg splitting in two while fraternal twins come from two separate eggs. According to data, India is witnessing a ‘ten-fold rise’ in twinning rates over the past two decades. Use of assisted reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization can increase the odds of twins or other multiples. Some of the known factors that can increase the chances of having twins are;
Age: Women above 30 are more likely to conceive twins. As you get older, hormonal changes can cause more than one egg to be released at a time. It can trigger the formation of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which is responsible for the development of eggs in the ovaries.
Family history: As per the study report, offspring of male identical twins may be more likely to have their own identical twins. And, the chances increase if you have fraternal twins (non-identical) in your family
Weight: Extra body fat can lead to increased levels of estrogen in the body. High estrogen levels can overstimulation of the ovaries and cause releasing of two or more eggs at ovulation.
Are twin pregnancies risky?
A twin pregnancy causes the body to produce higher levels of pregnancy hormones, particularly human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This may intensify early pregnancy symptoms such as weight gain, especially in early pregnancy, increased appetite, morning sickness and feeling distinct fetal movements in different parts of the stomach. While there is a higher chance for complications in twin pregnancies, several treatments can reduce the risk they pose.
It can increase the risk of pregnancy and delivery complications such as;
Early delivery: It is one of the most common complications of twin pregnancies. Less space for the fetuses to grow or because the placenta has developed unusually can cause early birth. In many cases, the mother experiences preeclampsia (a sudden rise in blood pressure) which can induce early delivery.
Vanishing twin syndrome: It is a type of miscarriage that take place during early or later pregnancy. This happens when one twin dies in the uterus and the body partially or fully absorbs it. Now, with ultrasound mothers can view their developing babies from very early in pregnancy, this condition is diagnosed more often.
Gestational diabetes: The risk of gestational diabetes increases if a mother is carrying multiples. High blood sugar can affect pregnancy and the health of babies. Thus, it is important to consult with your doctor and take medications and make dietary or lifestyle changes to control the condition.
C-section delivery: Usually, caesarean section is advised for mothers having multiple but in many cases, women can still choose to deliver naturally if there are no risks involved. It is possible if the first baby is in a head-down position if not, a C-section is done. In a twin pregnancy, the more common route of delivery is a C-section.
Healthy tips for mothers expecting twins
Giving birth to twins can feel both exciting and overwhelming. It is almost similar to other pregnancies but proper care and need have to be given for a smooth pregnancy period and delivery.
– Eat healthily and don’t forget to take a prenatal vitamin
– One can do mild exercise. Consult with your doctor and see what’s exercise is good for you
– Don’t miss any doctor’s appointments, checkups and screenings
– Read much about pregnancy and related topics
– Avoid smoking and use of any tobacco
– Get proper rest and sleep
Dr. Bharati Kamoji is Sr. Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Aster CMI Hospital