How Common Are Twin Pregnancies?

(February 4, 2011)

A twin pregnancy is also known as a multiple pregnancy. It occurs when more than one fetus develops in the mother’s womb. Twin pregnancies are not very common. The chances of having a multiple pregnancy increases on account of certain factors. Higher maternal age is one such factor. Women above the age of 30 years face a greater possibility of having twins. The chances of multiple pregnancies are also high when there is a family history of multiple births. Women who undergo fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization or fertility drugs often experience multiple pregnancies. This is because such treatment enables the release of multiple eggs from the ovaries. Women of certain races may also be more likely to have twins. Multiples are commonly observed in African American women. The chances of a multiple pregnancy are also influenced by the number of times a woman has been pregnant and whether a multiple pregnancy has occurred before.

Twin pregnancy symptoms are very similar to symptoms of single baby pregnancies. However these symptoms may be experienced differently in women carrying more than one baby. The intensity of the symptoms may also be higher. Most pregnant women experience morning sickness especially during the pregnancy first trimester. Mothers expecting twins may experience more severe morning sickness symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and fatigue. It is the production of hormones that causes pregnancy symptoms. In case of multiple pregnancies, this hormonal production is higher and hence the symptoms may also be more intense. Women expecting twins may also experience severe tiredness since the body works overtime to nourish and nurture two babies. Hunger tends to increase during any pregnancy. Twin pregnancy is likely to lead to a higher level of hunger as the woman’s body needs to provide for two babies. The size of the abdomen will also increase more when there are twins developing in the womb. Another indication of a twin pregnancy is elevated hCG levels. hCG is a hormone that is produced in the woman’s body during pregnancy. The best confirmation of a twin pregnancy is a medical examination.

Progress of a twin pregnancy week by week will be similar to that of a single pregnancy. Early development varies in cases of identical and fraternal twins. Identical twins develop from fertilization of a single egg by a single sperm. Fraternal twins develop from two eggs which are each fertilized by different sperms. Expecting mothers may refer to a twin pregnancy calendar to monitor the development of the babies.

Submitted by N on February 4, 2011 at 12:45

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