What are Twins?
Twins can be of two kinds – fraternal and identical. Fraternal twins are the most common type and develop from the fertilization of two different eggs with two different sperms. They grow in a separate placenta and amniotic sac. They do not resemble one another or look alike.
The other kind, identical twins, which occurs rarely, develop from division of a single fertilised egg into two foetuses. Hence, they look alike and are of the same sex and blood group.
When are Twin Pregnancies Likely to Occur?
A twin pregnancy is more likely to occur in women with late pregnancies because more than one egg might get released at a time as a result of hormonal disturbances.
Sometimes, a twin pregnancy may be expected when assistive reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization have been used. Regardless of the cause for a twin pregnancy, you need special care.
Diagnosis of a Twin Pregnancy
A twin pregnancy may be suspected by your doctor if your uterus is growing fast and appears larger than normal and if there is more than one foetal heartbeat. Although some blood tests suggest the twin pregnancy, ultrasound scan confirms twins.
Caring for a Twin Pregnancy
During a twin pregnancy, you need to take extra care of yourself and your babies. You should have:
- Frequent check-ups: Frequent visits to your doctor are often recommended to monitor your babies’ growth, your health and to check for signs of preterm labour.
- Healthy nutritious diet: You should have higher levels of folic acid, calcium, iron and proteins in your diet. You may be recommended vitamin and iron supplements.
- More weight gain: It is recommended to gain about 16 to 20 kilograms throughout your pregnancy if you have a twin pregnancy, and it is important to gain appropriate weight to support your babies’ health.
- Precautions: You should refrain from certain activities that may cause strain, such as work, travel or strenuous exercise as pregnancy progresses.
Complications of a Twin Pregnancy
It is important that you are aware of the possible complications in a twin pregnancy. High blood pressure is more likely and when it occurs in combination with proteinuria (protein in the urine), it is called preeclampsia, which is a serious complication. There is also an increased risk of pre-term labour, which may lead to complications such as low birth weight, breathing difficulty, underdeveloped organs, and learning and developmental problems in your newborn. You may mostly likely need a C-section delivery.
Have regular medical visits, proper diet and follow the instructions of your obstetrician to have a safe and successful delivery of twins or multiple babies.