All That You Need To Know About Multiple Pregnancies – Part 1

The joy of growing a baby and giving birth is something that cannot be expressed. Imagine growing more than one? How would that affect you?? Will it be your joys multiplied or double the trouble?

What are multiple pregnancies?

If more than one embryo grows in a womb, such as twins or triplets (or even more), such cases are known as multiple pregnancies. In rare cases (1 in 50 of multiple pregnancies) more than three live embryos grow in one womb, such a case is known as a “high order pregnancy” or “high order multiples”.

So, why do multiple pregnancies occur?

Multiple pregnancies can occur :

  1. If more than one egg is released during the menstrual cycle leading to each egg getting fertilized by separate sperms
  2. If a fertilized egg splits into two spontaneously, leading to identical embryos
  3. In case of fertility treatments or drugs in which there is either an increased chance of releasing more than one ovum or if more than one viable fertilized embryo (in IVF) is transferred into the uterus.
  4. Familial history of giving birth to twins
  5. In some cases, women above the age of 35 years release more than one egg per menstrual cycle

How are multiple pregnancies diagnosed?

There are some signs that indicate a pregnant woman is expecting multiple babies, these include:

  • Rapid weight gain at the start of the pregnancy
  • Severe morning sickness
  • If there is more than one heartbeat picked up during a prenatal examination
  • Size of the uterus is larger than what it is supposed to be

Confirmation of multiple pregnancies and the type is diagnosed by an ultrasound in the 1st trimester. The number of placenta and amniotic sacs are also evaluated.

In Part-2, the types and complications of multiple pregnancies will be discussed.




Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!

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