Multiple Pregnancy: Why It`s Important to Know More About It
A few decades ago, most women with twins weren`t aware they have a multiple pregnancy until they entered into labor. However, now because of modern technology, such surprises on the long term aren`t an issue anymore. Most women find out they have a multiple pregnancy during one of the first ultrasound tests during the 1st trimester of pregnancy.
If during your 1st trimester you have gained too much weight, your doctor will send you to make an ultrasound. This won`t necessarily mean you have twins. It`s just as possible for you or your doctor to miscalculate the date of conception. Because of this, the ultrasound is relevant to find out if you`ll have one or more babies.
If you are pregnant as a result of a fertility treatment with IVF or gonadotropin, then you`ll probably make an ultrasound even from the first 8 weeks of pregnancy to calculate the number of embryos implanted. Generally, an ultrasound is 99% accurate when it comes to detecting the existence of a pregnancy, especially between 6 and 8 weeks from conception. Still, the more babies you have, the easily is for one of them to get unnoticed.
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When Twins Are Identical
Twins that aren`t identical are developing from 2 eggs which are fertilized and released at the same time. They are known as dizygotic twins (DZ). On the other hand, identical twins come from the same egg and are known as monozygotic twins, also known as monochorionic twins (MZ).
Still, even at identical twins, similarities stop at a certain point because there aren`t 2 human beings completely identical. So, because of specific factors, monozygotic twins get to have small differences, barely noticeable but enough for the parents to make the difference.
How to Find Out What Type of Twins You Have
At least theoretically speaking, tests like amniocentesis and CVS tests can identify the type of twins you have, but they are difficult to made and even dangerous, especially if we are talking about multiple pregnancies.
On the other hand, if you can`t or don`t want to make such tests, an ultrasound can often clarify this mystery. Actually, it will show you if your little ones share the same placenta, but also if the 2 babies have the same sex. From this point of view, an experienced doctor capable to perform a transvaginal ultrasound will be able to tell with precision if the 2 babies share the same placenta. Keep in mind that this checking loses its precision the longer you wait to find this out during your pregnancy because as the babies grow, the uterus will become more crowded.
Now, if you have one single placenta, this means your twins are monozygotic, but if you have 2 placentas, your little ones can either be monozygotic or dizygotic, given that all the dizygotic twins and around 20% to 30% from the monozygotic twins have different placentas.
Between the 18th and 20th weeks of pregnancy, a doctor can detect the sex of the babies, obviously if the little ones are positioned so their genital organs can be seen. If the ultrasound will show that you have a boy and a girl, then you`ll be certain you have dizygotic twins because 99.9% from all cases monozygotic twins are of the same sex.
Why It`s Important to Know What Twins You Have?
Obtaining this information isn`t just for your general knowledge. This can be very important for a medical point of view as well.
First, the monozygotic twins that share the same placenta are exposed to a certain degree of risk during the pregnancy. Around 15% for all multiple pregnancies that involve monozygotic twins suffer of the transfusion syndrome from one twin to another (STGG), a serious medical condition in which one twin “donates” fluids to the other one. This way, the twin that receives the fluids tends to grow faster than the one who gives them.
Without treatment, this condition is usually fatal for both babies. From this particular perspective it`s important for the doctor to know what type of twins they are and to supervise closely the development of the babies. If there are any suspicions regarding the appearance of STGG, the doctor needs to intervene immediately and prescribe a specific treatment.
To know what type of twins you have is also useful after giving birth because if you had a monozygotic twin pregnancy and one of the babies is diagnosed with a genetic disorder, in this case the other baby will most likely have it. If you have gave birth to dizygotic twins, the chances as both babies to suffer of the same medical disorder are significantly lower if they even exist.
Last but not least, you`ll find out that most people are fascinated by twins, so prepare yourself to answer all kinds of questions coming from almost everyone from relatives to friends or even strangers.