News about a triplet pregnancy can be exhilarating and exciting, but at the same time it can be terrifying for the expectant mother.
Twins are relatively common but triplets are rare indeed, so there is perhaps much that an expectant mother may not know about this kind of multiple pregnancy.
Why triplet pregnancy is less rare these days
With fertility rates declining all over the world and the number of women seeking fertility treatments increasing, there is now a greater incidence of multiple pregnancies. When a woman is on fertility drugs her ovaries are more likely to produce more than one egg at a time which may result in multiple eggs being fertilized at a time; ergo twins or triplets or more.
When a woman opts for in vitro fertilization where the eggs are fertilized and then inserted into the uterus, usually more than one fertilized egg is transferred by the doctor, to increase chances of implantation of one of more embryos.
Possible complications with a triplet pregnancy
If a woman is discovered to be carrying triplets (usually detected at the first ultrasound scan) she should understand that triplet pregnancies are difficult ones.
In only about half the pregnancies that started out as triplets do mothers go on to actually deliver three babies. Half of the pregnancies that started out as triplets went on to have two babies, only one baby or ended in miscarriage.
Pregnancy symptoms are usually much more acute when carrying triplets – there will be greater morning sickness, more fatigue, greater discomfort, more aches and pains that a woman should be prepared to undergo.
Preterm delivery (32 weeks gestation is the average for triplet pregnancies) and low birth weight is more or less the norm with triplets, and mothers should also expect other complications. It is common for the babies to be admitted to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) soon after birth.
Not only is the mother more likely to develop preeclampsia (high blood pressure) and gestational diabetes, it is common to need a C section delivery in a triplet pregnancy. There is also a greater likelihood of the mother developing post partum depression and of course the challenges involved in caring for three babies at a time can be extremely challenging to say the least.
Precautions to take with a triplet pregnancy
Yes the chances of complications are high, but a very large proportion of women go on to deliver healthy triplets and recover very well themselves. So remember to relax and enjoy your pregnancy and record all the special moments in a scrapbook or by taking pictures and videos.
If working, women should probably stop work a lot earlier than in singleton pregnancies. There may be the requirement to take some amount of bed rest with a triplet pregnancy and doctor’s instructions should be followed religiously.
There may be some curtailments of the activities that are possible for the mother-to-be and she may put on more weight than she would with a singleton pregnancy, but this will certainly be a rare and wonderful experience; one that she will enjoy sharing with her three children sometime later in life.