Pregnancy Vivian | 07 Oct 2010 09:52 pm

Twin Pregnancy

Pregnancy as every one knows commonly terminates with the birth of a single child. However, while triplets are extremely rare, one in ninety pregnant women carries twins. Twins are most frequently born to parents whose ancestors have established this tendency but they are now becoming more common especially because of the growing use of infertility treatments. Reproductive technologies that assist with natural fertilization such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) often use ovulation-stimulating medications to produce multiple eggs which are then fertilized and returned to the uterus to develop.

Of course, that does not explain the cause of twins, which in reality can result from either of two circumstances. More commonly their origin depends upon the ripening of two eggs at about the same time and the fertilization of both by two different spermatozoa. The children, in this instance known as double ovum twins, or fraternal twins may be of the same sex or not. On the other hand, single ovum, or identical, twins are always of the same sex; this follows, when one egg and just one spermatozoon are concerned. The incident permitting identical twins to develop from a solitary ovum must occur soon after fertilization when the embryo splits in two. One third of twins born are identical, of the same sex and look almost completely alike as they will share the same genetic makeup

During the first trimester your 12 week scan ultrasound testing will show whether you have a twin pregnancy. The sonographer (medical professionals who operate the equipment) can even identify whether you are carrying identical or fraternal twins by measuring the thickness of the membranes which separate the two amniotic sacs (the sac in which the fetus develops) in your uterus.

The presence of a multiple pregnancy can be recognized during the latter months of pregnancy when your doctor may detect two separate fetal heartbeats, at other times, during prenatal tests, abnormally high levels of hCG, (human chorionic gonadotropin) a hormone produced by the embryo soon after conception, will be found. Although there can be other reasons for testing rates of hCG in most cases higher levels may well lead your physician to expect a multiple pregnancy in your case.

A twin pregnancy is generally regarded by the medical profession as carrying a higher risk than single pregnancies; that of course does not necessarily mean that you are liable to experience any problems. Most women with twin pregnancies will complete their confinement without problems and will deliver two healthy babies.

As with any pregnancy however there are always risks of problems arising now and then. The best advice you can get is to take care of yourself, attend all your antenatal appointments (even if you feel fine and don’t think you need them!), ask questions, voice any concerns you may have and follow any advice from your GP or midwife. Don’t put off seeing a doctor if you experience any unexpected symptoms and if you are not happy with your care ask to be referred to the consultant who specialises in multiple births at your local hospital.

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