Twin pregnancy can be intimidating to say the least. Being responsible for the life of two tiny human beings simultaneously is a challenging endeavor. While both singleton and twin pregnancy provide you the joy of motherhood, there are some key differences between them, apart from the number of cribs and clothes you are buying, of course.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Pratibha Singhal, Director- Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Noida, to know more on the subject.
Types of twin pregnancies
“If the two babies are in separate sacs and derive nutrition from separate placentas, the risk of any complications is reduced significantly. This is the best type of twin pregnancy to have,” explains Dr Singhal
In the second type of twin pregnancy, the babies share a placenta while growing inside separate sacs. In this case, one baby might grow larger than the other because of the discordance in blood supply. One baby derives more nutrients from the placenta, thus depriving the other one.
The third type of twin pregnancy is when the babies share both the placenta and the sac. This can be most risky. There is a chance that the babies will get united – such pregnancies result in conjoined twins. Other defects are also common with this type of pregnancy, which is why termination is counseled to pregnant couples.
Likely complications in twin pregnancy
1. Vomiting, bleeding and pregnancy loss
In the first trimester, vomiting can be severe because the hormone levels are much higher in comparison to singleton pregnancy. There’s also an increased risk of bleeding and pregnancy loss in the first trimester.
2. Larger pregnancy bump
Dr Singhal explains, “Twin pregnancy shows more growth. The pregnancy bump in a twin pregnancy at 30-32 weeks matches with the pregnancy bump at 34-36 weeks in a singleton pregnancy. So, the mother is more uncomfortable.“
3. Inconspicuous baby movements and premature labour pains
Very often, the mother can’t appreciate the movement of two separate babies. Thus, more frequent ultrasounds become necessary in a twin pregnancy. Further along the pregnancy, premature labor pains might also occur.
4. Hypertension and diabetes in mothers
If the twin pregnancy is conceived through IVF, the mothers tend to be more advanced in age. In such cases, there is an increased chance of Hypertension and gestational diabetes in the mother. The haemoglobin levels might also drop, and thus need regular monitoring.
Twin pregnancy care tips
When encountered with this question, Dr Singhal remarks that extra precautions must be taken by both mothers and healthcare professionals.
* Diet and exercise: Since a mother with a twin pregnancy is responsible for the nutrition of three, she must eat accordingly. Depending on the growth of the twins, nutritional changes are suggested and supplements are prescribed.
The mothers are suggested to rest more. Physical activities are necessary but restricted. A less hectic schedule is advised.
* Ultrasounds: Twin pregnancy requires a larger number of ultrasounds to monitor the growth of both the babies.
* Maternal monitoring: To ensure the mother’s good health, blood pressure, body weight and urine checks must be administered.
Other tests like Fetal Anomaly scan, Cervical assessment and Fetal Echocardiography should also be performed.