Pregnancy with more than one baby is on the rise. Twin pregnancy is the most common multiple birth, but the rate of triplets and higher number multiple births have been on the rise. Thanks to advances in fertility treatments and prenatal care, more women than ever are able to get pregnant and carry pregnancies of multiples. Many women find out very early on during their pregnancy that they are carrying multiples. Excessive “morning sickness,” excessive fatigue, and rapid weight gain are very common symptoms for mothers who are pregnant with multiples. These women are in for a very exciting, though somewhat uncomfortable, adventure over the next 8-9 months.
It is true that women carrying more than one baby are at higher risk for preterm birth, low weight babies, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and cesarean birth. Due to their “high risk” status, women who are pregnant with multiples will spend more time at their OB’s office. Monitoring of the mother’s weight gain and fetal measurements will be watched with a careful eye to make sure that the babies are growing at a proper rate. Women who gain weight and grow too big too fast are at a high risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. With close monitoring and intentional care, women who are carrying multiples have a great chance of giving birth near term and at healthy weights.
Vaginal births are possible for women carrying multiples. Women who are pregnant with twins are often able to give birth vaginally if the first baby is in a head-down position. For triplets and other higher numbers of babies to be delivered, a cesarean delivery is recommend due to the frequency for babies to turn in the uterus as its siblings are delivered. A scheduled C-section also takes away from having to have an emergency surgical delivery. Your doctor can help you make the best decision regarding birth.
Once here, healthy multiples have the same needs as other single newborns. Mothers may need a little more hands-on help with feeding, changing, and sleeping! Proper prenatal care and support are essential to near-full term multiple pregnancies. These mothers need close monitoring in order to enjoy their adventurous pregnancy and complete the journey with healthy babies.
Posted on behalf of Sean Lambert M.D., North Pointe OB/GYN Associates
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