By Dr. Charu Jandial
What is MULTIPLE PREGNANCY?
A multiple pregnancy means you're pregnant with more than one baby. If you're pregnant with higher-order multiples, it means you're pregnant with three or more babies.
Multiple pregnancies usually happen when more than one egg is fertilized by a man's sperm. But it also can happen when one egg is fertilized and then splits into two or more embryos that grow into two or more babies.
Twins are called identical when one fertilized egg splits into two. Identical twins look almost exactly alike and share the same genes. Twins are fraternal when two separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm. Fraternal twins don't share the same genes and are no more alike than any brothers and sisters from different pregnancies with the same mother and father.
How do you know if you're pregnant with multiples?
What kind of prenatal care do you need if you're pregnant with multiples?
You may need extra medical care during pregnancy, labour and birth. You may need to go for extra prenatal care checkups so that your DOCTOR can watch you and your babies for problems. You also may need more prenatal tests (like ultrasounds) to check on your growing babies throughout your pregnancy.
How can multiple pregnancies affect your health?
If you're pregnant with multiples, you're more likely than if you were pregnant with one baby to have complications, including PRETERM LABOR ( before 37 weeks of pregnancy), ANAEMIA, GESTATIONAL DIABETES/HYPERTENSION, MISCARRIAGE.
How can being pregnant with multiples affect your babies' health?
Babies are more likely to be born premature, have increased birth defects, low birth weight.
What causes multiple PREGNANCY?
You may be more likely than other women to get pregnant with more than one baby if:
Do you need to eat special foods if you're pregnant with multiples?
You do need more of certain nutrients, like folic acid, protein, iron and calcium. You can get the right amount of these nutrients by eating healthy foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and eggs.
Do you need to limit physical activity if you're pregnant with multiples?
You may need to cut out any high-impact activities, like aerobics or jogging, that make you jump or put stress on your joints. But you may be able to do some activities, like swimming, prenatal yoga or walking.