The Risks of Being Pregnant with Twins

The Risks of Being Pregnant with Twins


  • Twin pregnancies which carry the greatest risk, and are therefore considered complicated by doctors, are those in which the same placenta and amniotic sac is shared by the twins. This is because such a condition may lead to the fetuses or their organs becoming fused together, while there are also issues associated with either fetus’ weight or growth.
  • A pregnancy with twins can result in health complications affecting the mother, with miscarriages, anemia, high blood pressure and an increased chance of diabetes being the most common occurrences.

For partners who have always wanted to have multiple children, the occurrence of a twin pregnancy is likely to be a source of great joy. Some mothers feel relief at the thought of not needing to become pregnant again, and going through the associated pain on numerous occasions. However, when viewed from another perspective, a twin pregnancy can also be a source of anxiety due to its associated risk factors. The human uterus is only designed to support one fetus at a time, so becoming pregnant with twins can often lead to various issues which may place both the mother and offspring, at risk.

How common are twin pregnancies?

In the past, the chances of a twin pregnancy were a mere 3 in every 1,000, but the current trends show that such pregnancies are becoming increasingly more prevalent due to a whole host of factors. Nevertheless, the two main reasons behind the increase in twin pregnancies can be categorized as follows:

  1. A family history of twins
  2. Assisted reproductive technologies, which currently include ovulation induction drugs, in-vitro fertilization, embryo transfers and many more, all of which increase the chances of a twin pregnancy

Types of twin pregnancies

Twin pregnancies are classified according to the following 3 characteristics:

  1. A twin pregnancy with separate amniotic sacs and placenta
  2. A twin pregnancy sharing the same placenta but with separate amniotic sacs
  3. A twin pregnancy sharing both the placenta and the amniotic sac

Each type carries with it a unique set of risks but the type considered most dangerous by those in the medical field is the 3rd type, as such a pregnancy can result in numerous health complications. These complications include the fetuses and organs fusing together, which is already a risk in normal pregnancies or, where the fetuses and organs do not fuse together, the unborn children could move around so much that their umbilical cords become tangled, placing both of them at risk. Alternatively, one of the twins may take all the nutrition – the fact that they are sharing the placenta means they must also share vital nutrition – potentially resulting in issues affecting their weight and growth.

What are the signs that you may be pregnant with twins?

For women who have become pregnant naturally, the initial period of a twin pregnancy may not differ from any other. However, be on the lookout for the following two conditions: worse-than-normal morning sickness due to the increase in hormonal activity resulting from a twin pregnancy, and abdomen size, which you should be observant of in case of any irregularities. In the latter case, it is best to attend a doctor’s appointment to screen your pregnancy because an enlarged abdomen could be a result of many different factors, including twin pregnancies or the mother’s pre-existing myoma and ovarian tumor or an excess of fat around the abdomen or a greater-than-usual amount of amniotic fluid being produced. On the other hand, women who find it difficult to conceive and have therefore utilized assisted reproductive technologies will already know whether or not they are pregnant with twins as doctors would carry out the ultrasound examinations in the early stages of pregnancy, and then regularly every 2-3 weeks, depending on the types of twin pregnancy.

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