Multiple pregnancy: characteristics, causes and complications

Pregnancy is usually considered a state in women who usually involves joy and fears associated with the unknown. If we add to this the concept of multiple pregnancy, these states multiply.

Many people consider a multiple pregnancy as a curious fact and of great happiness without thinking about risks and consequences it can generate the same, both for the mother and for the children. Therefore, in this article we will assess some concepts that may be interesting when dealing with this type of pregnancy.

Characteristics of a multiple pregnancy

A publication titled «Multiple Pregnancy: The Management of Twin and Triplet Pregnancies in the Antenatal Period», from the National Collaborating Center for Women's and Children's Health (United Kingdom), reports that a multiple pregnancy It has more risks of problems such as spontaneous abortion, anemia, hypertensive disorders, preclampsia, among others.

Therefore, it also suggests that women who are in that state have more monitoring and contact with health professionals. This is not only for the purpose of reducing risks, but for receiving high quality guidance. Let's see below the main features.

Multiple pregnancy carries several risks for both the mother and the babies. Therefore, it is important to receive complete medical attention throughout pregnancy.

First trimester of pregnancy

Multiple pregnancy not usually debut with big differences during the first quarter compared to a single pregnancy (a single baby).

The suspicion of being pregnant appears when we have the presence of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation). This fact usually derives in the realization of a test of pregnancy obtained in a pharmacy or performed in a laboratory.

A positive result leads us to seek an initial consultation with a midwife and gynecologist to begin a pregnancy follow-up. It is on the first ultrasound when the doctor can detect the presence of more than one gestational sac. With it the diagnosis of a multiple pregnancy.

The most appropriate time to request a first ultrasound is after the 7th week of pregnancy, counting from the date of the last period.

Read also: Twin pregnancy

Last trimester of a multiple pregnancy

It is at this stage of pregnancy when increase the risks associated with multiple pregnancy, In addition to greater intensity in the symptoms and discomfort derived from the pregnancy itself.

  • Back pain is considered one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of multiple pregnancies due to weight gain and body angle modification. The physical change associated with a pregnancy is very intense, and even more when there is more than one baby in the uterine cavity.
  • Rest is affected by the limitation in movement agility. This is related to the increase in abdomen size and the difficulty in finding the right posture for rest.
  • The feeling of lack of air is associated with the pressure exerted by the upper part of the uterus on the lungs, thus reducing its ability to expand when ventilating. Remember to practice diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing to improve this symptomatology.

When the delivery approaches, Most pregnant women have fears related to the way in which their children will be born. In the case of multiple pregnancy, caesarean section is more frequently thought of. Its practice is very common because in most cases the two babies do not have their heads down.

Causes of a multiple pregnancy

There are usually two main reasons why multiple pregnancy occurs.

  • On one side is the genetics. Family history, both maternal and paternal, in which there are cases of multiple pregnancy, increases the chances of its occurrence. Because of this, it is convenient to ask family members about them.
  • On the other hand we must keep in mind the reproduction treatments. Currently, many people must go to fertility clinics because they have problems that are usually associated with the search for pregnancy with advanced age.

You may be interested: When it is better to get pregnant

Most frequent complications

Gestational diabetes is one of the complications that can occur due to multiple pregnancy.

When a woman is diagnosed with multiple pregnancy, It must be attended by the high-risk service of the hospital where they are carrying the pregnancy.

The reason why they should be referred to this service is because the increase in the frequency of occurrence of complications associated with pregnancy. The most frequent are the following:

  • The appearance of arterial hypertension. It is important to control the blood pressure of the pregnant woman in the last weeks of pregnancy. Due to the changes that the organism has, the appearance of it is very frequent. The gynecologist will assess whether it is necessary to request additional tests to detect complications of this condition.
  • Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis. Around the 24th week of pregnancy the O'Sullivan test is performed. This test is used to identify cases in which the body's blood sugar levels are highest. Given this diagnosis, control with the hospital's endocrinology service is required, in addition to continuing at high gestational risk.
  • Premature or early delivery It usually occurs more frequently in multiple pregnancy. You should go to an emergency department if regular contractions appear. There they can detect early and act according to the picture.

In summary

Due to its special characteristics, multiple pregnancy should be monitored more carefully compared to a normal pregnancy. Further, It is necessary to constantly monitor the mother to minimize the risks of complications. In any case, it is essential to request professional advice in the clinic or hospital.