Multiple Gestations are pregnancies which involve more than one baby at a time, such as twins, triplets and quadruplets. About 3% of all pregnancies are classified as such and their occurrence can be quite random.
While multiple gestations are super exciting and oftentimes completely unexpected, there are quite a few things to consider when carrying more than one baby. For example, are you prepared to bring up multiples, what are the birth complications associated with multiple gestations and how to minimize the risks?
Answers to all of these questions and more await you in this article.
What Causes Multiple Births?
Multiple gestations occur at random, but if you have a family history of twins, triplets, or quadruplets, your chances of having multiple births are increased.
Another favorable factor for multiple gestations is fertility treatments, which make it more likely for you to ovulate two or more eggs during a menstrual cycle. Generally, women over 35 years of age are more likely to release more than one egg per cycle, regardless of whether they’ve had fertility treatments or not.
Scientifically speaking, if a woman ovulates more than one egg during her menstrual cycle each egg has the potential to be fertilized by sperm. If each egg is fertilized, more than one embryo can grow in the uterus and this will result in fraternal twins (or more), or also referred to as non-identical. When a single fertilized egg divides into multiple genetically identical embryos at random, identical twins (or more) will develop.
Usually, fraternal twins are much more common than identical twins, but they’re both a blessing for the new parents.
What Are Some Common Multiple Gestations Symptoms?
Wondering if you are having twins, triplets or quadruplets? Then you should read more into the pregnancy symptoms you are experiencing. They are very similar to those that occur during a singleton pregnancy, only they are much more exaggerated.
Here are some of the most common symptoms which can indicate that you are having multiple gestations pregnancy:
- Severe morning sickness and nausea. To ease this quite unpleasant pregnancy symptom, we recommend you to use peppermint essential oil. The DoTERRA Peppermint Beadlet Essential Oil is a highly-trusted special blend with proven results. You can directly inhale from the bottle, put a few drops on a cotton pad or in a diffuser. Moreover, the convenient beadlets are ideal for traveling and on-the-go, because you never know when your nausea will strike in
- Severe breast tenderness. We found a product that works wonders in terms of alleviating breast tenderness during twin pregnancy, and is also ideal for post-pregnancy when you might experience some breastfeeding challenges. The Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack provides therapeutic relief for breast tenderness by offering both cold and hot therapy. Simply store it in the refrigerator or the freezer to activate its cold therapy potency, or put it in the microwave to reap the benefits of the hot therapy.
- Faster weight gain. They always say that if you’re having twins you’re eating for three and that couldn’t be truer. Significant weight gain during multiple gestations pregnancies is quite common but that shouldn’t worry you. In order to make sure you stay healthy and don’t overindulge try to switch to a more healthy diet and eat regularly without overeating
- Abnormally high levels of hCG (the pregnancy hormone)
- Larger belly compared to most women at a similar stage of pregnancy
- More than one fetal heartbeat. There have been a few cases of health care providers detecting a second heartbeat before they can actually see the second fetus on an ultrasound. However, this is quite rare, because it’s hard to distinguish two heartbeats, especially if they’re in sync or close to being in sync.
Twin Pregnancy Ultrasound: When Do You Find Out You’re Expecting Multiples?
Most likely you’ll find out that you’re expecting twins or multiples around week 6 – week 10 through a twin pregnancy ultrasound. This is the only secure way to be sure you’re expecting twins or multiples.
Nevertheless, ultrasound scans are not perfect since they take a sonographic image of what’s going on beneath the surface, and there is a small chance that the ultrasound won’t detect a second fetus. This can happen if the second fetus is hiding behind the other one when they’re sharing the same amniotic sac, or if the ultrasound is done too early on.
For that reason, it’s best to have a second twin pregnancy ultrasound after week 20, since that’s when the results will be certain (in most cases). And don’t forget that the results are being read by a human, so you should always leave some room for error.
You should also monitor your symptoms as mentioned to determine if you’re having a multiple gestations pregnancy, and listen to your motherly intuition.
What Are Some of the Birth Complications Associated with Multiple Gestations?
Multiple gestations pregnancies are considered high risk, because there are quite a few birth complications that might occur, including:
- Fetal conditions, such as problems with fetal growth
- Gestational diabetes
- Miscarriage and preterm birth
Preterm birth is the most common birth complication associated with multiple gestations pregnancies. In fact, more than one half of all twins are born preterm, and triplets and multiples are almost always born preterm (before week 37). A preterm birth is when you start having contractions and true labor after your 20th week of pregnancy and more than 3 weeks before your due date.
Most premature babies are usually put in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to the health complications that might occur, such as breathing and eating problems, learning and behavioral disabilities. They will stay in the NICU until their immature systems are stabilized.
Throughout your multiple gestations pregnancy you will need to put extra care in monitoring your health and that of your babies. This will continue after they’re born, and although you might feel helpless while your babies are in the NICU (if so), there are certainly things you can do to show care for your angels, such as bring home their laundry, bond with your multiples and love them. It’s best to speak with your health care provided to get advice on how you can be helpful in such a situation.
Having Twins: What Do I Do Now?
Congratulations, you’re blessed with multiples! This is an exciting time for the whole family, but can also bring some anxiety in terms of the post-birth preparations. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it seems.
Before you go to the hospital for delivery make sure you pack all the essentials, such as extra blankets, diapers, bottles, socks and booties, comfy clothes for you, and most importantly – a going home outfit for your twins. We are sure that they’ll look absolutely stunning in the Miracle Onesies by TwinStuff – the perfect “welcome to the family” outfit that everyone will love.
Multiple Gestations: What Else is Important to Know?
With multiples on the go there are quite a few things to know. First of all, you should consider yourself lucky if you’re having twins or more, because multiple gestations pregnancies occur in about 3% of all pregnancies. Carrying multiples means having the same symptoms as a singleton pregnancy, but more severe. Still, there are things you can do to alleviate the discomfort. You will find out you’re expecting multiples around week 6 – week 10 of your pregnancy through an ultrasound. Once you know you’re having multiple gestations pregnancy it’s time to start planning the “welcome home” of your babies.