Once your pregnancy test reads positive, you might wonder just how many potential bundles of joy you have in the womb. The prospect of twins, triplets or high-order multiples, can be a "nail-biter" until you find out for sure.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments or fertility drugs - which stimulate the ovaries with the hope that a female will release several eggs - can significantly increase a woman’s chance of having more than one offspring. In vitro fertilization also increases the odds having multiples, depending on the number of embryos are placed in the ovaries, according to BBC News.
Approximately one in every 34 births is twins, which has increased by 65 percent since 1980. Beside fertility treatments and drugs, genetics can play a role in the potential of fraternal twins if they run in the family.
How Do You Know You Have Twins or More?
Twin pregnancies may be more intense than a single pregnancy. Levels of fatigue and morning sickness may be greater. However, it isn’t until the first ultrasound at around 12 weeks that twins can be discovered. A hidden twin is uncommon, but with high-order multiples, there can be a miscount of babies.
Other ways to detect twins is to test for high Alpha-fetoprotein and hCG levels in the blood. However, before jumping for tests to be performed, consider the variables that put you most at risk for having twins.
- You gain weight fast during early pregnancy
- You’re of African-American descent
- You’re over the age of 35
- You’ve already been pregnant
- You’ve already had twins
- Twins run in your family
How Do I Deliver More Than One Baby?
Twins are usually born prematurely, around 37 weeks, according to the book Twins! Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year of Life, written by Connie Agnew.
When delivering twins, not much is different from the traditional birthing process, however, there are greater risks associated with giving birth vaginally to more than one offspring. Depending on the positions of the babies, one could be head first and another could be feet first. When there are multiple umbilical cords they can become tangled around the other or around the other baby. Also, it is possible to deliver one vaginally and the other via caesarian section if need be.
Do you know anyone who has had twins? What were their experiences with the pregnancy process and delivery?