Multiple Pregnancy

The maternal fetal medicine specialist at Hattiesburg Clinic provides expert care for multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets or more) and will do everything possible to ensure the health of you and your babies.

Multiple Pregnancy Overview

Are you pregnant with more than one baby? Pregnancy with multiples is exciting for expectant parents, however, it can present higher risks for mother and babies. Increased risk requires greater, expert care during your pregnancy. Hattiesburg Clinic offers specialized care and expertise for managing high-risk pregnancies.

What can cause a multiple pregnancy?

Pregnancy of multiples has grown over the years and continues to rise. There are many factors that are linked to having a multiple pregnancy including the following.

  • Genetics – If you are a multiple or have a family history of multiples, you have an increased chance of having multiples.
  • AgeWomen over the age of 30 have a greater chance of having a multiple pregnancy as their ovaries start to release multiple eggs at one time as you grow older.
  • Previous pregnancies – Women who have experienced one or more pregnancies, especially a multiple pregnancy, are at an increased chance of having multiples.

Twins (two babies) and triplets (three babies) are likely to occur naturally. High-order multiples (more than three) are most commonly seen with infertility treatments.

  • Assisted reproductive technologies – IUI, IVF or other methods used to treat infertility, often use ovulation-stimulating medications to produce multiple eggs. If fertilized, they can result as multiple babies.

What are the types of multiple pregnancies?

Multiple pregnancies are discovered during routine ultrasounds. Your provider may also suspect multiples if your labs report higher hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) levels or if more than one heartbeat is detected during a fetal doppler scan. There are two types of twins that result from a multiple pregnancy:

  • Fraternal twins are the most common type of multiples and occur when two or more separate eggs are fertilized.
  • Identical twins occur when a single fertilized egg splits and two fetuses are developed.

Multiple gestation can involve different pregnancy experiences for expectant mothers. There are three types of multiple pregnancies:

  • Dichorionic–diamniotic – Fetuses have their own chorions (outermost membrane) and amniotic sacs. They do not typically share a placenta and can be fraternal or identical babies.
  • Monochorionic–diamniotic – Fetuses share a chorion but have separate amniotic sacs. They share a placenta and are identical babies.
  • Monochorionic–monoamniotic – Fetuses share a single chorion and amniotic sac. They share a placenta and are identical babies.

What are the risks of a twin/multiple pregnancy?

  • Premature labor & birth. The more babies carried, the less likely to carry to term. Most multiples are born before 37 weeks and before their bodies and organs have completely matured. Just like mommy, these babies need extra, specialized care in the neonatal intensive care unit to help their bodies continue to develop and grow stronger outside of the womb. Interventions can be made to prolong pregnancy or help stimulate babies’ development in utero.
  • Gestational diabetes. Carrying multiples can increase the risk of gestational diabetes. It is important to learn how to manage your blood sugar level as high blood sugar can affect pregnancy and babies’ health.
  • Preeclampsia/Gestational hypertension. Women carrying multiple fetuses are more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. High blood pressure can increase the risk of placental abruption (early placenta detachment) and other pregnancy complications.
  • Anemia. With higher blood volume produced with multiples, the body may not have enough red blood cells.
  • Amniotic fluid abnormalities. Abnormal amounts of amniotic fluid are more common in multiple pregnancies, especially when fetuses share a placenta.
  • C-section delivery. Vaginal delivery is possible with twins. Higher-order multiples in abnormal fetal positions enhance the chance of a cesarean delivery.
  • Twin-twin transfusion. A condition that can occur with multiples sharing a placenta. Blood vessels connect within the placenta and blood can be diverted from one baby to the other. This can cause serious complications for both babies and may require fetal procedures during pregnancy.

What to Expect When Pregnant With Twins and Other Multiples

More babies means more care. As multiples can present greater risk of developing conditions during pregnancy, specialized care can reduce the chances of these conditions occurring and early interventions can be recommended for treatment if needed.

Expectant mothers of multiples can expect the following:

  • More regular checkups. More frequent appointments allow providers to track babies’ growth and development, monitor mother’s health and watch for signs of preterm labor or the development of other conditions.
  • More-frequent scans. Additional ultrasounds or other tests may be needed as pregnancy progresses.
  • More side effects. The extra pregnancy hormones can cause mothers to have more severe morning sickness. It is important to keep your provider informed of any side effects that you may be experiencing during pregnancy so they can help treat them as soon as possible.
  • More weight gain. Gaining the right amount of weight is important for supporting your babies’ health. It is important that you work with your health care provider to determine what is best for you.

A nutritious diet, enough rest and frequent doctor’s appointments are crucial for a healthy pregnancy of multiples. Appropriate calorie and fluid intake is especially important in fetus development. Moms are likely to experience pregnancy discomfort that intensifies with multiples, therefore plenty of rest to help relieve added stresses is recommended.

Choose Hattiesburg Clinic

Hattiesburg Clinic offers expectant mothers access to a health care provider who specializes in multiple births. We offer the full spectrum of prenatal, delivery and postpartum care for higher-risk pregnancies with multiples. Specialized health care helps to ensure that mother and babies receive the best care available.

Maternal Fetal Medicine
Hattiesburg, MS
Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Hattiesburg Clinic - 28th Place
421 S. 28th Ave.
Ste. 120
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
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Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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