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Twin Pregnancies

“We’re having what?”

Between 1-3% of all pregnancies in the developed world are now twin pregnancies. This is largely due to the increasing use of assisted reproduction.

How do twin pregnancies occur?

Twin pregnancies can occur either when two separate eggs are fertilised (non-identical twins) or when a single fertilised egg splits early on in development resulting in two identical babies developing (identical twins).

What makes me more likely to have twins?

There are a number of factors that increase the chances of having twins

  • Assisted Reproduction including ovulation stimulation (more eggs released per cycle) and IVF (if multiple embryos are
  • Increasing age. It is unclear whether this is due to natural effects of ageing or an increase in the use of fertility
  • Having more babies increases the chance of having twins
  • Twins in the mother’s family (Dads, this one is not your fault)
  • Greater maternal height and weight

How does carrying twins affect my pregnancy and labour care?

While it is a wonderful thing to think about twins developing together, there are a number of issues that need to be considered during pregnancy and delivery. There is a higher risk of some pregnancy complications for both the babies (preterm labour, growth restriction) and the mother (gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia) meaning that closer monitoring with more frequent visits and ultrasounds is usually indicated.

How the babies are delivered is not always an easy question to answer either as there are many factors (such as which way the babies are lying, how well the babies are growing) which will influence the final decision you make with your obstetrician.

How about after they are born?

Looking after twins can be very challenging. The support of family and friends or a support group such as the Multiple Birth Association can be invaluable.

The above information doesn’t take the place of a medical consultation so please seek further advice if you have further concerns.

Download the PDF of this article.

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