Marina Fogle and Dr Chiara Hunt discuss what to expect when you’re expecting twins
So, you’re pregnant and expecting twins. Discovering that there is more than one little fetus growing inside of you can stir up a whirlwind of emotions. Usually it fluctuates between delight (bargain – two for the price of one!) and fear. Most mothers-to-be are greeted with this news at their 12-week scan, and you might also find out whether your twins are identical.
Non-identical twins are created when two eggs are released and fertilised by two different sperm. Therefore, other than their birthdays, non-identical twins are genetically no more similar than siblings. Identical twins are created when one egg is fertilised and then splits, so the DNA is exactly the same in both twins.
Non-identical twins are hereditary. Some women have a genetic predisposition to release two eggs. The chance of conceiving non-identical twins also increases with age. As women get older. This is because, with age, they ovulate less regularly. This means that one month they might not ovulate at all and the next they might release more than one egg. Identical twins, on the other hand, are a more unusual occurrence.
Twin pregnancies are more closely monitored because of the increased risks to both the mother and her babies. You’ll have more appointments and scans but the frequency of which will depend on the type of pregnancy you’re having. There are three different forms:
Dichorionic diamniotic (DCDA)
Each twin has its own placenta and amniotic sac. All non-identical twins and a third of identical twins are DCDA. These pregnancies are the most common and the safest. If all is well, you will have a scan every four weeks and go for a full term. This should be an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA)
These twins share a placenta but have their own sac. Two-thirds of identical twins are MCDA. Because the twins are sharing a placenta, it’s common to be scanned every two weeks from 16 weeks.
Monochorionic monoamniotic (MCMA)
These twins share a placenta and a sac. This is very rare; only 1% of identical twins are MCMA. These pregnancies carry higher risks, so you will be looked after by a specialist team.
Managing your pregnancy when you’re expecting twins
Carrying twins is twice the effort so make sure you take extra care to rest, to allow your body to do its job. You should try to take it easy from 28 weeks, or even earlier depending on the type of pregnancy. We suggest mothers-to-be stop work by 32 weeks. Be prepared that many twins arrive earlier than anticipated. Doctors are keen to keep twins in utero as long as possible and the same gestation of 40 weeks applies to both twins and multiples. However, over half of twins and virtually all triplets are born at or before 37 weeks.
Will I have to have a c-section?
As with all women, the mother’s choice of how she would like to give birth plays a huge role. A c-section is certainly possible – over half of twins, and virtually all triplets, are born by caesarean but, as with all pregnancies, keep an open mind. Often, for the wellbeing of your babies, the decision will be taken out of your hands.
Dr Chiara Hunt and Marina Fogle run The Bump Class, based in Parsons Green
and South Kensington. thebumpclass.com
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