Twin Pregnancy - picture, sign and symptom of twins pregnancy

Twin pregnancy occurs in around 1 in every 80 conceptions. There are two sorts of twins non-identical or fraternal twins (Doctors call this dizygotic twins), and identical twins (Doctors call this monozygotic twins).

Non-identical twins occur when the mother produces two eggs and both are fertilised and implant in the womb successfully. There is a marked variation throughout the world in the chance of having non-identical twins. Non-identical twins are less common in Japan and more common in Africa compared with Europe. Non-identical twins have a familial factor. This can be passed from mother to daughter making you more likely to have non-identical twins if your mother had twins. Recent studies have indicated that the likelihood of a mother having non-identical twins can be inherited from both her paternal and maternal sides. Other factors associated with a higher risk of non-identical twins include having several previous pregnancies, age 35 to 39 years, and increasing maternal height and body mass index. However, a family history of twins in your partner's family does not lead to an increased risk of twins in your pregnancy. In contrast, identical twins occur following splitting of a single fertilised egg. The egg effectively splits into two after fertilisation and two identical children will develop.

Identical twins are less common than non-identical twins. They occur in around 1 in 250 pregnancies and this rate is fairly constant throughout the world. The likelihood of non-identical twins and even triplets is increased in assisted conception techniques particularly with ovulation induction. With in vitro fertilisation, where two or three embryos may be replaced, there is clearly an increased chance of multiple pregnancy occurring.

Complications in twin pregnancy

There is an increased risk of miscarriage. Furthermore, ultrasound scans in early pregnancy have identified the phenomenon of the 'vanishing twin'. This is where a twin pregnancy is identified on an initial scan and a subsequent scan shows only one baby. One of the twins may have been miscarried or even reabsorbed into the afterbirth, but the other twin continues to develop normally in the womb without any problems. Congenital abnormalities are also more common and most Doctors recommend a detailed ultrasound scan of twins at around 18 weeks to look for any problems. If you have twins you will also be at risk of pre-eclampsia and premature labour. With regard to delivery, twin pregnancies tend to deliver around 3 weeks in advance of singleton pregnancies and with triplets a further 3 to 4 weeks earlier and with quadruplets a further 4 weeks earlier. Thus, with increasing number of babies the length of the pregnancy shortens.

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