Complications Associated With Twin And Multiple Pregnancies

Pregnancy is a wonderful experience for every woman and is filled with lots of surprises.

However, some women feel a little nervous during the pregnancy period, particularly when experiencing complications in pregnancy.

However, most pregnant women have complication-free pregnancies, and there is always concern about developing complications throughout the nine-month period.

In particular, women who are carrying twins or multiples are more likely to experience pregnancy complications. If you are carrying twins or multiples, ensure that you are aware of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy complications.multiple pregnancies

1. Miscarriage

This is the number one concern for all pregnant women during their first trimester. The occurrence of  miscarriage is very common in almost 20 percent of pregnancies. Cramping and bleeding are the most common symptoms of miscarriage.

In twin and multiple pregnancies, miscarriage often occurs in the form of vanishing twin syndrome. In this condition, two fetuses are detected, but development is observed in only one fetus throughout the pregnancy period.

2. Preterm labor

The most common complication observed in twin and multiple pregnancies is pre-term labor. Up to 70% of twins and approximately 100% of higher order multiples undergo premature births.

Before 38 weeks of gestation, when the cervical dilation or contractions begin, preterm labor occurs.

Preterm labor in multiple pregnancies is due to overcrowding inside your uterus. The greater the number of babies you are expecting, the higher your chance for preterm labor.

In most cases, twins or triplets are born only after the 28th week. Birth before 28 weeks[28 weeks pregnant] puts your babies at high risk for complications such as breathing difficulties and birth defects.

3. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)

This is a most serious condition observed in twin pregnancies. This condition affects identical twins who share a single placenta.

TTTS is the condition in which one baby takes over the other’s blood supply in the uterus. Due to this, one baby lacks oxygen and nutrients, while the other receives excessive amounts.

Though only one in 1000 pregnancies is at risk of developing TTTS, it is very serious when it occurs. TTTS leads to poor fetal growth, brain damage, heart failure or even death if the condition is left untreated.

4. Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)

This condition can happen in any type of pregnancy, but is very common in twin and multiple pregnancies. 50% of all the multiple pregnancies experience IUGR to some extent.

This condition occurs when one baby is having difficulties associated with development and growth while in the uterus.

Infection or insufficient blood circulation to the placenta leads to IUGR. Also, overcrowding in multiple pregnancies can lead to IUGR. This is also a serious complication because it can cause preterm labor.

5. Conjoined twins

This is a very rare condition that occurs in multiple pregnancies. One in 400,000 pregnancies is at risk of developing this condition.

This happens when the fertilized egg doesn’t completely split into two separate balls of cells, which means two eggs remain joined at some point. This condition leads the two babies to grow into one another.

Most times, conjoined twins are stillborn or they die within 24 hours after birth because they share essential organs.

6. Pre eclampsia

Usually, this condition happens during the second trimester of pregnancy. High levels of blood pressure and greater amounts of protein in the urine lead to pre-eclampsia.

There is a chance of developing some kind of pre-eclampsia in 10-20 percent of all multiple pregnancies.

Generally, this condition won’t cause any complications for your babies. However, when the condition is left untreated, it can lead to preterm labor and HELLP syndrome.

If you observe any symptoms like high blood pressure, headaches, fever and swelling in your hands and face, immediately contact your healthcare provider.

Tips to prevent complications associated with twin and multiple pregnancies:

Though the majority of multiple pregnancies are free of complications, it is essential that you are aware of the most possible health risks associated with multiple pregnancies.

Following just a few steps will help you to prevent complications, thus ensuring you and your babies remain healthy during the nine-month period.

  • Always stay hydrated;
  • Consume a healthy and well-balanced diet;
  • Make sure that you attend all your prenatal check-ups;
  • Confirm your multiple pregnancies as soon as possible;
  • Be aware of all the signs and symptoms associated with the possible complications of multiple pregnancies.


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