Management and Care of a Multiple Pregnancy

Multiple pregnancy is a case whereby a mother is pregnant with more than one fetus. They could either be twins, triplets, or high-order pregnancy (four or more babies). Multiple pregnancies occur when more than one ovum is released during your cycle, and each gets fertilized by a sperm. When each of these embryos implants themselves on your uterus, the pregnancy will result in fraternal twins. Otherwise, you will have identical twins if one egg gets fertilized and then splits into two or more parts. Read on to see the causes, symptoms and what to expect when you have a multiple pregnancy.

Causes of Multiple Pregnancies

Some of the main causes of multiple pregnancies include:

  • Hereditary– in case your family has a history of multiple pregnancy, then you could also have one
  • High parity– in cases where you had had more than one pregnancies before, especially if they were multiple pregnancies, you have higher chances of having a multiple pregnancy
  • Age– the older you are, the higher your chances of having a multiple pregnancy. In this case, women above 30 years are more likely to have a multiple pregnancy.
  • Ovulation using medicines that stimulate certain hormones in your body could result in the production of many eggs. If each of these eggs is fertilized, you could have a multiple pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of a Multiple Pregnancy

It may surprise you to know that you can tell you’re having multiple pregnancies even before your scan confirms it. Here’s what to look out for:

  • A sudden gain of weight at the start of the pregnancy– if you are carrying multiples, you are likely to gain about 5 more kgs as compared to when carrying one baby.
  • Excess morning sickness– though morning sickness may be common or expected during pregnancy, you are likely to have more severe morning sickness when you have multiples
  • Early or frequent fetal movement– unlike single pregnancies, you are likely to start feeling movements earlier when you are carrying multiple babies. Additionally, you will feel the movements frequently.
  • Extreme fatigue– when you have a multiple pregnancy, you will be struggling to provide nutrients to more than one baby. For this reason, you are likely to often feel fatigued especially if you are stressed or working a lot.
  • Heartbeat count– if you have a multiple pregnancy, a Doppler will detect two or more heartbeats. However, this may be inaccurate since one heartbeat can be detected at several areas of the abdomen.
  • Ultrasound confirmation– this is the surest way for you to determine whether you have a multiple pregnancy.

Unlike single pregnancies, multiple pregnancies have higher chances or risks. Make frequent prenatal visits and fetal testing to help monitor the health of the fetus. Additionally, ensure that you go to the hospital as soon as you realize that you are in labour to help prevent any complications during the delivery of the babies.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: acog, pregnancybirthbaby, pregnancybirthbaby, tommys, hopkinsmedicine

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