Multiple Pregnancy

What is a multiple pregnancy?
A multiple pregnancy where there are two or more babies in the uterus. These babies can come from the same egg or from different eggs.

Babies that come from the same egg are called identical (monozygotic). This happens when one egg is fertilized by one sperm. The fertilized egg then splits into two or more embryos. This happens by chance and is not related to your age, race or family history.

If the babies you’re carrying are identical, they:

  • Are either all boys or all girls.
  • All have the same blood type.
  • Will have the same body type and the same colour skin, hair, and eyes. But they won’t always look exactly the same. They also won’t have the same fingerprints.

Babies that come from different eggs are called non-identical (dizygotic). This happens when two or more eggs are fertilized by different sperm. Non-identical twins tend to run in families. This means that if anyone in your family has had non-identical twins, you’re more likely to have them too.

If the babies you’re carrying are non-identical, they:

  • Can be boy-boy, girl-girl or boy-girl.
  • Can have different blood types.
  • May look different from each other or may look the same, as some brothers and sisters do.

Fertility drugs help your body make several eggs at a time which increases the chance of more than one egg being fertilized. Single pregnancies carry a low risk of complications but, a twin pregnancy carries about a 4-fold increase in risks and a triplet pregnancy carries a 10-fold increase in risks.

Multiple pregnancy may result in:

  • Miscarriage, losing one or all babies
  • Development of diabetes in pregnancy
  • Development of high blood pressure or preeclampsia
  • An increased risk of birth defects
  • Premature delivery and extreme premature delivery when organs have not yet developed fully.

A fetal ultrasound will determine if there is more than one baby. If this occurs, regular ultrasounds are required during the pregnancy to check for signs of problems.

Early detection and treatment are critical to help you and your babies stay healthy.

It is important to take care of yourself:

  • Go to each doctor’s consultation
  • Have a healthy diet
  • No smoking, drinking alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Avoid medicines, vitamins, herbs unless approved by your doctor
  • Only do activities that are recommended by your doctor or physiotherapist
  • Get plenty of rest

After the birth:

  • Ask for help from family and friends
  • Rest when possible
  • Join a support group for multiple births
  • Discuss feelings of sadness or depression with your doctor
  • Enjoy your babies.