Multiple births: Many for the Price of One

Pregnancyorg Staff's picture

by Staff

In the news: There's an alarming increase in women having multiple babies at one time. What's causing this statistic to rise and what does it mean?

With the phenomenal rise in the number of multiple births, many folks are wondering why the number of twin births has more than doubled while the number of births with three or more babies has quadrupled.

What is this "miracle of multiples" all of sudden? Why is it happening? There are studies staying that it could be treating infertility has improved. There are major trends in assisted conception. The use of "ovulation induction agents" (read that as drugs that help you pinpoint when you ovulate to conceive) has also revolutionized the occurrence of multiple pregnancies.

Each year, there are over 100,000 multiple births happening worldwide - those with three or more babies is still less than 3%. Our fascination with multiples never ends either with more women having sets of three, four, five or eight like the "Octomom".

Other factors to this mysterious rise are such things as your maternal age, socio-environmental factors, increase in the use of contraceptives, the race of human population, and increase in the spontaneous abortion rate. Multiples happen when the fetuses are carried during a pregnancy with the subsequent delivery of multiple births. It can also be heredity, your race, the number of prior pregnancies, delayed childbearing, or infertility treatments.

Multiple births are still considered high-risk and are complicated by a higher incidence of hypertensive problems like anemia, preterm labor, c-sections, mal-presentation, and so forth. Multiple births are truly a mix of both blessings and problems. Let's not forget the high cost of raising multiples - that alone can put parents in the poorhouse.

Explaining the trend, Dr. Ashiru, who is the Chief Medical Director, MART, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, described multiple birth as a type of birth in which a woman gives birth to two or more offspring from the same pregnancy. He states, "It was in the 2009 series that the center first recognized it had mainly twin pregnancies while in the 2010 series, there were higher number of multiple gestations such as quintuplets. Thus, we reduced the number of embryos transferred this year (2011 series). Though we have had multiple gestations this year, the number has reduced compared to last year."

Learn the survival statistics
• Seventy-five per cent of quadruplets survive. Of that figure, 50 per cent have disabilities

• Ninety per cent of triplets survive and 10 per cent impairment rate can be expected, with an average gestation of 33.5 weeks.
• Ninety-eight per cent of twins survive with a five per cent impairment rate and the average gestation is 35-38 weeks ( a singleton gestation rate is based on 40 weeks)

Someone mentioned the decision to have or not to have a multiple birth, “should come from the woman’s head, and not her heart”. How many of you agree with the intent of this comment?  How many would rather admit that the answer lies somewhere between your head and your heart, what you know and what you feel, you will find the answer. Allow yourself to listen to both, most conclude. Bottom-line: informed decision remains the best decision.

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