Multiple Pregnancies: Types, Causes, and Symptoms

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Getting pregnant is good for females willing to be moms. As pregnancy is different for different women, it can be a matter of concern for some women. They may have multiple pregnancies in comparison with normal ones.  

As per experts at a fertility Clinic in Nepal, multiple pregnancies refer to a pregnancy in which a woman gives more than one, two, or sometimes more than three babies. Reproductive health experts call it a pregnancy with more than one fetus. It usually happens in mammals such as dogs, elephants, and lions which give birth to more than 5 offspring at a time.    

How do multiple pregnancies occur?

Multiple pregnancies can occur in two primary ways:

  1. When the one released egg has fertilization and may split into more before its implantation in the uterus
  2. Or more than two individual eggs have fertilization from different sperm at the same time   

Types of multiple pregnancies 

The names of multiple pregnancies closely relate to the number of babies a female delivers in one birth. A woman with multiple pregnancies can deliver more than one, two, or three babies. Here are some names:

  • Twins – two babies 
  • Triplets – three babies 
  • Quadruplets – four babies 
  • Quintuplets – five babies 
  • Sextuplets – six babies 
  • Decuplets – ten babies      

Here are common types of multiple pregnancies 

  • Fraternal twins – Fraternal twinning occurs when more than one egg or two separate eggs gets fertilized by the sperm and implantation in the uterus. If the two separate eggs have fertilization from different sperms, the babies may be of different sexes (a boy and a girl) and may not be identical. The children may be two girls or two boys. However, their looks may not be the same.   
  • Identical twins – Identical twins happen when an egg gets split into two parts after fertilization. The babies are identical as they come from the same fertilized egg. The two boys or two girls have similar body structures and faces. They will be of the same sexes, but can’t be of different sexes.   
  • Triplets or higher-order multiple pregnancies – Triplets refer to the birth of more than two babies at a time. Higher-order multiple pregnancies are the pregnancies in which a female gives birth to four to ten babies at a time. If three separate eggs have fertilization and get implanted into the uterus, the babies are fraternal. The babies are identical in triplets if a single egg gets split into three or more after fertilization. They may be three boys or girls with the same faces and body structures. 

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Causes of multiple pregnancies 

Here are some common causes of multiple pregnancies:

  • Genetic – If a woman has twins, her daughter may have twins too.  
  • Age – If the maternal age is more than 30-35, the woman has a higher chance of having multiple pregnancies naturally. Some studies have found that it occurs due to higher FSH levels. Women who find their partners and become pregnant in later years expect multiple pregnancies.  
  • High parity – If a female gives birth to twins, she may give birth to twins again.  
  • Race – Americans and African women usually have twins at a larger level. Native Asians and Americans have a lower chance of multiple pregnancies. 
  • ART – In IVF or IUI, there is a use of fertility drugs to stimulate ovaries for more egg release. After retrieval, these eggs are used to fertilize in the lab and inserted into the uterus of a female through the cervix and vagina. 

Symptoms of multiple pregnancies 

As a pregnant woman, you can know whether you have normal or multiple pregnancies by having a close look at the symptoms you have. In multiple pregnancies, you can experience:

  • Morning sickness, weariness, or tiredness 
  • Increased appetite 
  • Larger uterus in comparison with the expected one 
  • Abnormal weight gain during pregnancy 
  • Severe nausea and vomiting during the morning 
  • Breast tenderness 

What should you do?

You must see your doctor if you notice anything abnormal in your pregnancy. By recommending pregnancy blood testing and ultrasound imaging, the doctor can make it confirm whether you have normal or multiple pregnancies. And the doctor can tell you what you should do and how you should take care of yourself to successfully carry your pregnancy.

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