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24. Twins and multiple pregnancy

Probability Fertility drugs Identical Vanishing twin TTTS Twin delivery Fetus in fetu Twin death

By Dr Joe Kabyemela, MD


Twins! Triplets! Quads! You find out you are carrying a multiple pregnancy. What is your first reaction?

Stunned! This is almost universal, then soon after the reactions diverge widely. There are those who go into sheer panic and virtual shock and those who cannot contain their excitement. In between, there are those who take it in their stride. "Ah, well, I just have to prepare for one (or two) more."

However, the end result is not the only pertinent question in multiple pregnancy. There are questions such as: What is the experience going to be like? Is hospitalisation more likely? Are all of them going to survive? What about screening tests for Down's? Suppose one of them is abnormal on the scan? What about delivery? Is caesarean section more likely or even inevitable?

Here we have answered all these questions and many more, from how it happens through to the point of delivery.Twins can envoke euphoria or panic

If the prospect of having two, three or more babies at the end of the pregnancy does not make your heartbeat quicken, the prospect of going through the weeks of a multiple pregnancy should at the very least be accorded a slight pause for contemplation. Multiple pregnancy, be it twins or a higher order, is not a low-risk enterprise. As a general rule, all the potential pregnancy complications are commoner in multiple pregnancy, except perhaps for prolonged pregnancy; and then there are those problems which are unique to multiple pregnancy. Having said all that, a multiple pregnancy can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience and often is. It does not hurt, however, to know what it can and often does entail.

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