What Are Multiple Births?

Posted on August 9, 2021

Did you know that the largest multiple birth was to a woman in Mali who had nine babies? That's right! And, while you might not be expecting nine babies, there's a good chance that you could wind up having multiple births, too. 

The reason for this is that multiple births, though not hereditary, are fairly common. Researchers say that a little over 3% of all births are multiples, meaning that there's a fair chance you could have multiple births yourself.

If you're interested in learning more about multiple births, you're in the right place. We've put together a quick guide on multiple births. Keep reading to learn about what they are, what to expect, and more. 

What Are the Different Types of Multiple Births?

Most people associate multiple births with twins or triplets. And while these are certainly the most common types of multiples, they're not the only ones. In fact, multiple births cover every type of birth that includes more than one baby.

When it comes to multiple births, there are two different types. These types are known as fraternal multiples and identical multiples.

Identical Multiples

It occur when a fertilized egg splits into multiple pieces. A fertilized egg that splits in two will result in identical twins while a fertilized egg that splits in three will result in identical triplets.

Fraternal Multiples

It occur when multiple separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm but grow at the same time. When you have fraternal twins or fraternal multiples, each baby has its own separate DNA. 

Multiples are also arranged a little differently in the womb. For twins, there three ways that twins can be arranged: 

  • Monamniotic Twins, who share the same amniotic sac and placenta. A fraternal twin cannot be monoamniotic.
  • Diamniotic Twins, who have separate amniotic sacs and placentas
  • Monochorionic-diamniotic, Twins that share a placenta but each has their own amniotic sac

It's also important to note that sometimes, multiple births are referred to as super twins. Super twins simply refer to a woman who has more than one baby at a time.

How Common Are Multiple Births?

So, now that you have a better understanding of the types of twins and other multiples you can conceive, let's talk about how common multiple births are. After all, you probably want to know if this is something you should be concerned about!

In the past, multiple births were fairly uncommon. However, in today's society, the chances of having twins or other multiples are much higher. In fact, since the year 1980, the likelihood of a multiple or twin pregnancy has risen by 70%.

There are a few reasons why multiple births have become so much more common. One reason is that women are waiting until they are older to have kids. Older women are more likely than younger women to have multiple births.

On top of that, more women are undergoing fertility treatments such as IVF to conceive. These treatments increase the chances of a woman having multiple births. 

How Do Multiple Pregnancies Happen?

Multiple pregnancies can happen in two key ways. The first way is that a woman releases multiple eggs during ovulation. Then, two or more of these eggs are fertilized by a man's sperm. 

Another way that multiple pregnancies can naturally occur is if a fertilized egg splits into multiple parts. Typically, a fertilized egg will divide in two, resulting in identical twins. 

There are several causes of multiple births. These causes include: 

  • Your age
  • Having had previous pregnancies
  • Your race
  • The use of IVF and reproductive technologies
  • The use of ovulation-stimulating medications

Knowing your health history and genetics can help you understand better whether you're more or less likely to have multiple births. 

Can I Increase My Chances of Multiple Births?

If multiple births is something that you're interested in, you might be wondering how you can boost your chances of having them. While some factors are outside your control, there are a few other factors that you can play with to increase the likelihood of having multiple births. 

For one, you can consume high amounts of dairy food. Dairy food has been linked to increased chances of having twins.

On top of that, conceiving a child over the age of 30 and conceiving while breastfeeding are both factors that make you more likely to have multiple births. You can plan your conception around these times to increase the likelihood of twins. 

Finally, you can always take fertility drugs to help you conceive. Clomid, Follistim, and Gonal-F all increase your chances of having two or more babies at a time.

What Are the Best Ways to Stay Healthy During Multiple Births?

If you discover that. you are going to have multiple births, it's important for you to stay healthy. This way, you can ensure the health of your babies when it's time for them to be born. 

To help you stay healthy during a twin, triplet, or other multiple pregnancies, it's important to get enough rest and to eat nutritious food. Doing so helps fuel your body and the babies' so that you can have a smooth delivery. Don't be afraid to take early maternity leave in order to get the rest you need.

On top of that, it's important to listen to your body. Make sure that you take things slow when you need to. With multiple pregnancies, you may experience more severe morning sickness which could leave you needing to slow down and rest more than usual.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to take double the amount of vitamins when pregnant with multiple babies. Instead, continue taking the recommended dose of vitamins for pregnant women to keep yourself and your babies healthy. 

In that same line of questioning, you don't need to double down on what you eat, either. Just because you're having two babies doesn't mean you need to eat twice as much.

Are There Any Risk Factors Associated with Multiple Births?

A common question about young mothers expecting multiple births is whether or not there are any risk factors associated with multiple births. The good news is that if you're taking vitamins such as folic acid, you aren't at a higher risk for multiple births. 

However, if you are looking at multiple births, it's important for you to know what risk factors to be on the lookout for are. A few common risk factors. of multiple births include: 

  • Premature births
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Development of gestational diabetes
  • Development of anemia
  • Risk of birth defects in the babies
  • Risk of miscarriage 
  • Postpartum hemorrhaging
  • Umbilical cord entanglement
  • Amniotic fluid issues

Knowing these risk factors is important for making sure that you and your babies are healthy and safe. It's important to speak with your doctor at length when something doesn't feel right and to stay informed about risk factors. 

By checking in regularly with your doctor, you can monitor the babies' health and your own to make sure you have a smooth delivery and avoid risks. That way, you know that you're taking care of yourself and your babies as best as you can.

Can I Give Birth Naturally, or Is a C-Section More Likely?

As you near your due date for multiple births, you're probably wondering if it's safe to give birth naturally or if you'll need a C-section. While many women think they automatically need a C-section for multiple births, your doctor will be able to advise which is best for your pregnancy. 

In fact, the safest way to deliver twins is actually vaginally. Twins born this way tend to have fewer complications, leading to a healthier delivery overall. 

If you do choose to have a vaginal birth, you can expect your twins or multiples to be born roughly 15 minutes or less apart. During a C-section, both twins are removed at the same time. 

Remember, the earliest that you can safely deliver twins is 25 weeks. Any earlier than this and you should plan for a C-section and for additional medical support for you and your children.

Be Prepared for Multiple Births

Multiple births are a special type of pregnancy and as such, they require special preparation. With this guide, you'll be set up for how to prepare for multiple births and to take care of your new bundles of joy. 

If you're interested in getting insurance to help you keep yourself and your new babies healthy, get in touch with the team at Insurdinary. We'll help get you and your multiple babies the coverage that you need. 

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