Finding out you’re pregnant with one baby is an upbeat and somewhat nerve-wracking experience, but imagine finding out you’re pregnant with TWIN! Or even more!
The idea isn’t as rare as you may suspect, as twin pregnancies and multiple births are currently much more ordinary than they were years ago.
There are different reasons why the nation is presently seeing an influx of twins, triplets, quads, and most Americans know about the “Octo-Mom”, going from the commonplace to the downright insane, however, multiple births are not without dangers.
Truth be told, research reliably presumes that carrying more than one baby is much riskier for both Mom and babies than carrying just one fetus.
Why Multiple Births Are Soaring
Quite a while back, twins were to some degree a rarity, with fraternal twins created when a woman discharges two eggs during one ovulation cycle, where the two eggs are fertilized, and identical twins made when a single egg part into two.
In any case, with the recent surge in reproductive technologies accessible around the world, twins are currently a much more typical event.
Firstly, we have drugs such as clomiphene which stimulate ovulation.
In women who aren’t ovulating naturally or with any regularity, these drugs can encourage the release of an egg by introducing higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) into the body.
A side effect of this is various follicles are stimulated simultaneously, increasing the opportunity of more than one egg being discharged.
Secondly, we have assisted reproductive techniques, many of which culminate with in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a costly technology that is both emotionally and physically draining, so its subjects the fewer rounds of IVF couples to the better.
For this reason, Doctors generally transfer more than one embryo into the uterus to increase the chance that one of the embryos will imbed into the uterine wall.
Sometimes, none of the eggs will “take”, however different occasions they may all be fruitful.
A double egg exchange is thought to increase the opportunity of twins by 30%.
At last, we have an ongoing and somewhat disturbing trend emerging in the United States whereby women are explicitly requesting IVF for twin births.
It’s all part of the “designer baby” fashion that is becoming more and more popular.
Couples sharing in this twin pattern refer to advancing age as an essential factor in their decision, guaranteeing that they’d be too old to even consider completing their families if they were to have just only one baby at a time.
Regardless of whether you agree with this idea or not, fashion and trends are one of the main reasons why multiple birth rates in the west are soaring.
Risk Factors For Baby
Looking at the risk factors of multiple pregnancies for babies; it seems ludicrous that some women might even consider purposefully putting their unborn babies in danger.
That isn’t to say that multiple pregnancies are guaranteed to have complications, but there is consistent research that demonstrates the significant differences in risk between singletons and multiples.
Complications range from minimal concerns such as lower APGAR scores and low birth weights to more severe problems such as hypoglycemia and even death.
Stillbirth rates are believed to be 50% higher in cases of multiple babies; with breathing issues being a leading cause of death in the womb; and malnutrition being a main cause within the first 72 hours after birth.
In situations where one twin dies in utero; the danger of irreversible neurological debilitation increments by 20% for the remaining twin.
In any case; what should be recalled is that most of the complications for babies are referred more to premature births than with the concept of twinning itself; especially birth weight.
Luckily, around 70% of twins and multiples are born within the “perfect” window of 35 and 38 weeks; such a significant number of babies aren’t affected by these prematurity-related issues.
It increases risk factors further as the number of babies increases. A lack of room in the uterus; the sharing of placental nutrition between the fetuses; and increased pressure on the body in general means that triplets are generally born earlier.
At an average of 32 weeks instead of the standard of 35 weeks for twins; and much lighter at an average of 3 lbs compared to the average 4.5 lb twin.
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Risk Factors For Mom
Pregnancy is a difficult moment for the women’s body even when carrying only one baby; so the pressure on Moms-to-be when carrying two or more is much more prominent.
Mothers expecting multiple babies are accepted to be four times more likely to develop preeclampsia than Moms waiting for a single baby; regardless of age or health.
This means that while the risk of the disease in singleton pregnancies can be significantly reduced by maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking; it’s more difficult to prevent multiple pregnancies.
High blood pressure is also a major issue affecting Moms with two or more unborn babies.
While the danger of pregnancy-related hypertension is generally 13% in healthy women with singleton pregnancies; this figure rises to generally 21% in multiple pregnancies.
Bed rest, particularly during the later phases of pregnancy, alleviate some of the pressure on the body, however; some studies do propose that bed rest could increase the risk of premature labor.
When thinking of twin or multiple births, you probably automatically think of cesareans, right? It’s normal to do so; as the majority of twins are born in this way; but it’s not the only option.
Vaginal births are thought to be just as safe for multiples as they are for singletons; the problem is that due to limited room in the uterus; multiple babies are usually lying in very awkward positions, the only positions they can get themselves into; which make it more difficult to give birth naturally.
There’s a high number of breech babies in multiple pregnancies, meaning they lie with their bums down and heads up; and also high rates of problematic cord locations; which could pose issues when trying to deliver naturally.
For this reason; cesareans are the preferred method of birth in many cases, but just because you’re carrying twins doesn’t mean you’ll inevitably need a surgical birth.
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WOMEN STICK TOGETHER, SHARING IS CARING!