Twin and Multiple Pregnancy
A twin pregnancy is more likely to occur in women with late pregnancies because more than one egg might get released at a time as a result of hormonal disturbances. Sometimes, a twin pregnancy may be expected when assistive reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilisation have been used. Regardless of the cause for twin pregnancy, you need a special care.
Twins can be of two kinds – fraternal and identical. Fraternal twins are the most common type and develop from fertilisation of two different eggs with two different sperms. They grow in a separate placenta and amniotic sac. They do not resemble one another or look alike. The other kind, identical twins which occur rarely develop from division of a single fertilized egg into two foetuses. Hence, they look alike and are of the same sex, and blood group.
A twin pregnancy may be suspected by your doctor if your uterus is growing fast and appears larger than normal and if there is more than one foetal heartbeat. Although some blood tests suggest the twin pregnancy, ultrasound examination confirms the twins.
During a twin pregnancy, you need to take extra care of yourself and the babies and you should have:
- Frequent checkups: Frequent visits to the doctor are often recommended to monitor your babies’ growth, your health and check signs of preterm labour.
- Healthy nutritious diet: You should have more amounts of folic acid, calcium, iron and proteins in your diet. You may take vitamin and iron supplements as per your doctor’s recommendation.
- More weight gain: It is recommended to gain about 16 to 20 kilograms throughout your pregnancy if you have a twin pregnancy and it is important to gain appropriate weight to support your babies’ health.
- Precautions: You should refrain from certain activities which may cause strain such as work, travel or strenuous exercise as pregnancy progresses.
It is important that you remain aware of possible complications in a twin pregnancy. High blood pressure is more likely and when it occurs in combination with proteinuria (protein in the urine); it is called preeclampsia which is a serious complication. There is also an increased risk of pre-term labour which may lead to complications such as low birth weight, breathing difficulty, underdeveloped organs, learning and developmental problems in the newborn. Most women though not everyone having twins may need C-section delivery therefore discuss with your doctor and get prepared mentally as well physically for C-section.
Have regular medical visits, proper diet and follow the instructions of your obstetrician to have a safe and successful delivery of twins or multiple babies.