A twin pregnancy carries risks for both the mother and the babies. Some mothers are hoping to conceive twins or even higher order multiples and active steps will be taken during fertility treatment to increase the odds. Other mothers do what they can to avoid having twins, but they may be genetically pregnant with more than one baby.
Understanding the risks of a twin pregnancy can help you make decisions regarding the fertility treatment you want to employ. For example, if your doctor offers the option of transferring multiple embryos rather than a single embryo during IVF treatment, you might be more willing to try a single embryo transfer if you know the risks.
Understanding the risks of a twin pregnancy after you have conceived twins is also important. For example, you can research the signs and symptoms of preterm labor, knowing that prematurity is a risk for twins. Not all risks are avoidable or within your control. However, knowing what to watch out for can help reduce surprises down the road and increase awareness of potentially bothersome symptoms.
RISKS TO THE MOTHER DURING A TWIN PREGNANCY
Twin pregnancy is not only risky for the babies, but also for the mother. However, many of the risks to the mother are also risks to the unborn babies, as they can lead to premature delivery, complications or, in the worst case, stillbirth. Some of these risks are more of a nuisance than a real danger, while others can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Hypertension in pregnancy is high blood pressure and no less than 37% of pregnancies occur. If left untreated, it can lead to preterm labor, a baby that doesn’t grow well, or a stillborn baby. It can also be a serious threat to the health of the mother, especially if it develops into pre-eclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a condition that includes high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Symptoms can include:
- Swelling of limbs and face
Preeclampsia occurs most often in mothers with multiple pregnancies. If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, also known as toxemia. Eclampsia causes seizures and can be life-threatening for the mother and unborn babies. While blood pressure medications and anticonvulsants can stabilize the mother in severe cases, so that the baby can spend a little more time in the womb, the only cure for pre-eclampsia is the delivery of the baby and sometimes they stay sequels in the mother.
This condition in women occurs when she did not have diabetes before becoming pregnant, but once pregnant she has difficulties maintaining normal blood sugar levels. The diabetes gestational occurs in approximately 5% of singleton pregnancies, but women pregnant with two or more babies are twice as likely to have it. Gestational diabetes can usually be treated with diet and lifestyle changes.
Other risks that are worth knowing to consider during multiple pregnancy are the following:
- Mothers of multiple pregnancies are more likely to experience bleeding problems before or during delivery.
- The nausea intense morning are more likely in women pregnant with twins. For some, this is more of a nuisance than a danger, but some may develop hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe morning sickness, which leads to a 5% loss of the mother’s body weight and may require hospitalization.
- Mothers of twins are more likely to experience gastrointestinal problems during pregnancy, such as constipation.
- If preterm labor threatens, multiple pregnancies are more likely to require bed rest, which can lead to depression and job loss.
- If you start labor preterm, the woman may need to take medicine to stop the labor and allow the babies more time in the womb. These medications can have side effects, some mild and some more severe .
- The caesarean is more likely with multiple pregnancies due to unfavorable presentation (such as when the first baby is not head down) or complications, which means a recovery longer for after mother childbirth and an increased risk of complications childbirth.
- Mothers of multiples are more likely to experience postpartum depression.