If one baby is a blessing, what do you call it when mom gets two, three or even four babies at a time? A blessing mixed with a slight headache. Women all over the world are carrying multiples at this exact moment. Twins have the highest percentage, followed by triplets and so on. There are many reasons why a woman may end up carrying multiples.
It is either genetic or medical. A lot of women are genetically predisposed to having a chance of multiples, especially if she or her mother are one of a few. If a woman goes through medical treatment to conceive, she also has a higher chance of conceiving multiples.
There are also a lot of women out there who wonder what it would be like to have twins or triplets. They even think that it must just be the best. Moms get to put them in matching clothes and have a lot of people stop and gawk over the pair of cute babies. They also wonder what it is like to be pregnant with multiples. If a woman has only carried one, she knows how hard pregnancy can be, so she can not even imagine what it would be like to have more than one in there.
There are certain things about being pregnant with multiples that are just facts: they are just things that a woman must expect when she sees more than one little heartbeat on the ultrasound machine. Then there are things that are still considered ‘myths’. They are myths because they have not been studied or found true, yet. Here are 10 facts about carrying multiples, and 5 things that have just not been proven yet.
15 You Are Immediately High-Risk
There are certain women who are considered ‘high-risk’ when they conceive. A mother of advanced maternal age would most likely be considered high risk. Also, any woman who has serious medical conditions would be considered high risk as well. When you are labelled high-risk, it doesn’t automatically mean that you or your baby is in trouble, it just means you will be monitored closely throughout your pregnancy.
As soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant with multiples, she is considered ‘high-risk’. It doesn’t matter if there is two, three, or four in there. It also doesn’t matter if she is in perfect health and at the perfect age to conceive, she will always get the special treatment and frequent monitoring throughout her pregnancy. The reason is because the more babies that are in there, the higher chance of something going wrong. The closer they can monitor you, the quicker they can catch any of the warning signs. Early detection can save lives.
14 Three Meals A Day? Don’t Make Us Laugh!
A woman who is carrying multiples or who has carried multiples will tell you that there is no such thing as three meals a day for a woman carrying a herd of babies. This is just not reality. A woman who is pregnant with multiples will consume a lot of smaller meals throughout the day and will not eat the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner like everyone else.
We all know that a woman who is pregnant only needs to consume about 300 extra calories a day. When she is carrying multiples, she needs about 300 extra calories for each baby. So, if she is having twins, she needs 600. Triplets need about 900, and you see where I am going with this one. It would be really difficult to intake all those calories at normal meals, so she substitutes big meals with a lot of smaller meals. It helps with the heartburn too.
13 Uneasy Feelings Are Part Of The Package
Anyone who has ever been pregnant can tell you that it is not always the happiest point in our lives. We are uncomfortable, sick and the raging hormones have us feeling anything but ourselves. When you add another baby into the womb, it is bound to be a lot more intense. When you are carrying multiples your hormone levels are going to be more than a woman with a singleton pregnancy. This means that there are going to be more outbursts of tears and even some anger.
It is also normal and expected to feel a bit uneasy about bringing in two or more babies into the world. Women are not so open to admit their worries because they fear people will think that they do not want their babies. This is not true, but it is overwhelming to be bringing in more than one baby and wonder how you are going to manage it all.
12 It Is Genetic
There are two ways a woman can end up with multiples. One of the ways is if she conceived using fertility medications or procedures. This is quite common, as medication can stimulate growth of more than one egg. In procedures, like IVF, usually more than one fertilized embryo is inserted in hopes one sticks. The other reason a woman could conceive multiples is if she has the twin gene.
Having multiples is genetic and tends to run in the family. It is only passed down from the mother’s side, so if only your husband has a family history of twins it doesn’t mean you will. Having multiples depends on a woman’s reproduction system and how many eggs she releases. An interesting fact is that the only genetic form of twins is fraternal, and that is due to the release of more than one egg. There is no known genetic cause for identical twins, it appears to just be something that happens.
11 They Will Know Your Name And How You Like Your Coffee!
That’s right, when you are carrying multiples all the staff at your OB’s office will know you by name, and they will probably know how you take your coffee or tea. This is because of your frequent visits to the office. Due to a woman being considered high-risk when she is carrying multiples she will enjoy more visits to her OB’s office to make sure everything is OK.
In the calmest scenarios, a woman will have to be monitored about once a month until near the end of her pregnancy, which is not much different than a singleton pregnancy. However, if her multiples are sharing a placenta, which we discussed earlier, she can expect to be examined every two weeks. This can cause a strain on a woman’s workplace as she will need more time off to go to appointments, but she will have more opportunities to see her growing babies with all the ultrasounds!
10 Look At That Belly
A lot of women who are pregnant get asked multiple times if they are carrying twins. If they are having a singleton pregnancy than this could be taken the wrong way and a woman will start to worry that she is gaining too much weight. The rule of thumb is always to just never say this to a pregnant woman. The reason people say this is because a woman who is carrying multiples will have a much larger stomach than women who are carrying just one baby.
This is just common sense, the more that a woman has growing in there, the larger she will appear and the sooner her belly will pop. Let’s put this into perspective, a woman who is carrying twins is said to look like she is about 6-8 weeks further along than she really is. You can imagine that this only gets worse as the number of babies in her belly grow.
9 How Many Womb Homes?
Not a lot of woman think to ask their doctor how many placentas they have, but if you are carrying multiples it is a very good question to ask. Identical twins will always share the placenta. That is because they are formed in one single egg and share their womb home. Any other form of twins, or multiples, will normally have their own individual placentas because they were born of their own egg.
There are cases where multiples or fraternal twins may be sharing one placenta, and that may present some problems. The placenta is what nourishes your baby. All sources of oxygen and nutrients that baby needs to grow all come through the placenta. When more than one baby is fighting for the placenta, it can mean that the other babies are not getting what they need. It is a battle of the fittest going on in your womb!
8 Delivery May (Probably Will) Come Early!
This one is not a guarantee, but there is a good chance you will deliver your babies early. This is the most common complication when it comes to multiples. The rule of thumb they often use is that for every baby that is in there, you will give birth about a month early. On average, twins are born at around 36 weeks gestation, instead of 39/40 weeks for singleton pregnancies.
The good news is that most babies do just fine when they are born at 36 weeks, but there is a higher risk of complications. There is a chance that their lungs haven’t developed properly, and they may need to spend some time in the NICU to build up their lung capacity. Therefore, it is important that women who are pregnant with multiples be monitored closely by their doctor in an attempt to delay labour as much as possible.
7 Twins? There Are Two Types
Twins are the highest percentage of multiple births, most women who conceive with multiples are carrying twins. There are two types of twins; identical and fraternal. Identical twins are the rarest form of twins and accounts for about one third of all twin births. When twins are identical it means that they are the result of a single embryo splitting into two babies. This means that these babies share the exact same DNA, hence making them identical in every way. Identical twins will also only be of the same sex because they share DNA.
Fraternal twins are the more common of the pair. Fraternal twins are made with their own individual egg. Sometimes, a woman will release more than one egg at the time of ovulation, if two of these eggs are fertilized she will end up with fraternal twins. These twins do not have the same DNA and will look differently. They also have the ability to be completely different sexes.
6 Sibling Bonding Has Already Started!
Siblings always have a special bond, maybe it is an older brother protecting a young sister or the other way around. If the sibling bond is already so strong, we can only assume that the bond between multiples is that much stronger. The bond multiples build starts in the womb, especially if they are sharing the same amniotic sac. They have just spent 9 months all wrapped up together and cuddled, so when they come out they act just the same way.
There is no shortage of viral videos out there showing the amazing bond between twins being born. How they often cling to each other long after they leave the womb. Italian researchers have done a lot of studies on twins and the bonding that goes on in the womb. From what they have observed, the bond starts early. Starting at just 14 weeks gestation, they have viewed via ultrasound that twins reach for each other in the womb, and that they were always gentle with each other.
5 Myth: Multiples Mean Worse Morning Sickness
Now it is time to talk about some myths. Myths are very common, and they are very unhelpful when helping a woman who is having multiples. One of the biggest myths around carrying multiples is that the more babies that are in there, the worse your morning sickness will be. This one seems believable, because morning sickness is caused by the rising levels of hormones in a woman’s body. So, the more hormones she has, the sicker she would be, right?
Not exactly. There have been no studies to show any correlation between a woman pregnant with multiples and intense morning sickness. Every woman and every pregnancy are different. We see woman with singleton pregnancies being hospitalized for morning sickness, and we see woman with a multiple pregnancy having absolutely no morning sickness. It all depends on how a woman’s individual body reacts to the hormones and the pregnancies.
4 Myth: Must Be A C-Section!
This myth actually exists for a very valid reason. A lot of multiples are delivered by C-section due to risks to the mother and the babies, however it does not always have to be this way. Twins are capable of being born via natural birth, in fact, thousands of women give birth to twins natually all over the world every year.
When you are talking about cases where women have triplets, quads or quints, that is when surgery is normally recommended for the mother. This is due to the fact that the more babies in mom’s body, the earlier the labour will possibly be, and a natural birth may be too dangerous to both mom and some of her children. These mothers are normally put on bed rest at some point in their pregnancy to try and prevent pre-term delivery, and if there is any sign of stress the babies may be delivered early by C-section.
3 Myth: Skip A Generation
There has always been an old wives’ tale that states that if twins or multiples run in your family the gene will always skip a generation. So, if you are a twin then you probably won’t give birth to twins, but your daughters might. Or if you are the daughter of a maternal twin or multiple, then you will most likely give birth to multiples.
This is just an old wives’ tale and has not been proven by any scientific research. If the multiple gene is in your family, it is in your family and it could show its face at any time. So, even if our great-great-grandmother was a multiple and no one since then, you still have the chance of conceiving multiple babies. It is always good to be aware of your family history when it comes to conceiving, just to give yourself a warning as to what could happen. It is always better to be prepared.
2 Myth: Can’t Breastfeed
A lot of moms want to breastfeed their babies. They know the benefits and they can’t wait to experience that bond. So, when they find out they are expecting two or three babies, they immediately think that dream needs to be thrown out the window and they better start stocking up on formula, because that stuff is not cheap.
This myth is so strong that a lot of mothers of multiples never even attempt to breastfeed because they just know that it is not going to work for them. If a mother doesn’t want to breastfeed that’s fine and her decision, however if she really wants too, she can. It is important for mothers of multiples to seek advice from a lactation consultant or their doctor about their interest in breastfeeding their babies. They can get a lot of information on what to do. However, a lot of mothers of multiples still choose to formula feed their babies because it is easier, and other people can help, and there is nothing wrong with that.
1 Myth: More Abnormalities
We are glad to tell you that this one is a myth, as it may ease a lot of women’s minds about their multiples pregnancy. Being pregnant with multiples does not mean that your babies are at a higher risk of being born with any abnormalities. There has been no study to claim that twins or triplets are at any higher risk than a singleton baby of being born with an abnormality.
Abnormalities have a lot to do with genetics and lifestyle when a woman is pregnant, this means that there is an even risk for anyone who is pregnant. Your medical team will follow you closely to make sure that the babies are healthy and growing the way multiples should be. There is no need to add more worry to your plate than you already have. Chances are, your babies will be just fine.