Once that home pregnancy test shows a positive result, you have immediate feelings of joy and anxiety all at once. But what if you find out you are pregnant with twins?
Twin pregnancy is the result of either two fertilized eggs or a fertilized egg splitting into two identical halves.
Once an egg is fertilized with a sperm and later divided into two identical halves, these halves will produce two identical looking babies, usually of the same sex.
If two sperms fertilize two eggs, the result will be non-identical twins. These twins will likely have different genetic markers and will possibly be of different sexes.
What are the reasons behind pregnancy with twins?
- Parents may decide to have twins and will ask their doctor for medication that will increase their fertility levels.
- Another reason can be genetic, as the likelihood of having twins would increase if there was a history of twins in the family.
- If pregnancy happens for a woman of older age.
- If a woman ceases to use contraceptives after a long period taking the pills.
Signs that you may be carrying twins:
- Increased morning sickness or extreme fatigue.
- Rapid growth of the belly and uterus.
- The fetuses’ movements increase.
- Rapid weight gain.
- Increased urination caused by the pressure and weight of the fetuses.
- A home pregnancy test shows a positive result, even if done at an early stage.
A twin pregnancy is usually identified in the 16th or 18th week of pregnancy by testing the HGC hormone.
Weight gain while bearing twins:
It is likely that pregnancy with twins will add significant weight, more than pregnancy with one baby. The weight will be necessary to help support you physically during this phase, keeping in mind that you might gain 5 additional kilograms to the weight you gain if carrying one baby.
Risk factors and potential complications of twin pregnancy:
There are a few risk factors to twin pregnancy, such as:
- Heightened prenatal birth risk.
- Increased risk of pregnancy poisoning (or pre-eclampsia) due to the increased likelihood of higher blood pressure.
- High risk of high blood pressure, which may result in placental abruption.
- Higher risk of miscarriage.
- Increased likelihood of the woman becoming anemic, as the red blood cell count drops significantly.
- Labor complications caused by fetuses that are smaller than usual.
- Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is rare but a risk factor nonetheless. This syndrome occurs once the blood connection in the placenta is shared by both fetuses, and one fetus will feed off the blood supply of the other, leading to health complications for both.
- Caesarian birth is highly likely in case of twin delivery to avoid risks during labor. However, it might not be necessary if the fetuses are in their normal position.
It is important if you are expecting twins to regularly check with your doctor the status of your pregnancy to identify potential risk factors in a timely manner and to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies.