Risks in twin pregnancies

Over 60% of twins and nearly all higher-order multiples are premature (born before 37 weeks). The higher the number of fetuses in the pregnancy, the greater the risk for early birth. Premature babies are born before their bodies and organ systems have completely matured. These babies are often small, with low birthweights (less than 2,500 grams or 5.5 pounds), and they may need help breathing, eating, fighting infection, and staying warm. Very premature babies, those born before 28 weeks, are especially vulnerable. Many of their organs may not be ready for life outside the mother's uterus and may be too immature to function well. Many multiple birth babies will need care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Women with multiple fetuses are more than twice as likely to develop high blood pressure of pregnancy. This condition often develops earlier and is more severe than pregnancy with one baby. It can also increase the chance of placental abruption (early detachment of the placenta). Anemia is more than twice as common in multiple pregnancies as in a single birth. Multiple birth babies have about twice the risk of congenital (present at birth) abnormalities including neural tube defects (like spina bifida), gastrointestinal, and heart abnormalities. A phenomenon called the vanishing twin syndrome in which more than 1 fetus is diagnosed, but vanishes (or is miscarried), usually in the first trimester, is more likely in multiple pregnancies. This may or may not be accompanied by bleeding. The risk of pregnancy loss is increased in later trimesters as well.

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a condition of the placenta that develops only with identical twins that share a placenta. Blood vessels connect within the placenta and divert blood from one fetus to the other. It happens in about 15% of twins with a shared placenta.

  • High risk pregnancy care
  • Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome
  • Fetal transfusion syndrome
  • Gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure and preeclampsia.
  • Cesarean delivery
  • Prenatal and postnatal effects on health

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