Twins and Multiples

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A pregnancy where a woman has two or more fetuses in her uterus at the same time is called a multiple pregnancy … twins, triplets and more! These babies can come from the same egg or from different eggs and can be the result of natural conception or assisted conception through fertility drugs or IVF.

If your babies are from the same egg they are called ‘identical’ and if they are from different eggs they are called ‘fraternal’. Identical babies will either be all boys or all girls and will share the same blood type. They will likely also have the same color eyes, hair and skin and body type, and although they may not be absolutely identical, and they will not have the same finger prints, they will strongly resemble each other. Fraternal babies can be of different sex and look quite different to each other.

You have an increased chance of conceiving more than one baby if you are:

  • Over the age of 35 years; older women are statistically less likely to get pregnant but are more likely to conceive multiples if they do.
  • You have had fraternal twins before – once you have had a set of fraternal twins you are twice as likely to have another set in future pregnancies
  • If you are a twin or there are twins or multiples in your family you are slightly more likely to conceive more than one baby yourself.
  • You are of African descent
  • You have recently ceased using oral contraceptives
  • You have received fertility treatment

What are the risks of pregnancy with multiples?

Whilst all pregnancies carry risks the more babies you are carrying the more chance you have of complications:

The increase in risk with multiples includes:

  • Developing high blood pressure
  • Miscarriage
  • Certain birth defects
  • Early delivery

Keep in mind that the risks are varied from person to person and many factors must be taken into consideration. Your health care professionals will be aware that you are carrying multiples and your care plan will be adjusted accordingly to make sure that your pregnancy and delivery will run as smoothly and trouble free as possible.

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