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What are the Chances of Having More Than One Baby?

What are the Chances of Having More Than One Baby?

01:53 20th October 2017 | Multiple Births

Identical Twins Fraternal Twins Multiple Pregnancy Boys & Girls Fertility Drugs Hormone Treatments IVF Assisted Reproductive Technologies Nigeria Highest Twinning Rate Fetal Ultrasound Physical Checkups Staying Healthy

What are the Chances of Having More Than One Baby?

This questions has crossed (and will continue to cross) the minds of many couples trying to conceive – and those just finding out they are pregnant. There are, of course, statistics about odds and theories about certain factors that increase your odds, but you cannot just look at someone or do a blood test to determine your exact chances. When it comes to having identical twins, specifically, experts believe that their conception occurs mostly by chance.

So the question remains: ‘What are the chances of having multiple births?’ Before we look at theories and factors, let us touch on some basics.

Fraternal and Identical Twins

  • Multiple pregnancy: two or more babies in one uterus (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)
  • Fraternal twins: two babies conceived from different eggs, resulting in two embryos
  • Identical twins: two babies conceived from the same egg, fertilised by one sperm, resulting in two (or even more) embryos

Identical twins will not necessarily look exactly the same, especially as they grow older. They will also fortunately have their own set of fingerprints, which is good news in terms of identification logistics. Identical twins can either be two boys, two girls or one of each. What they will have in common is their blood type and most probably the same colour eyes, hair, skin color and body type.

Fraternal babies on the other hand do not necessarily share a blood type. They can also be either two boys, two girls or one of each. In terms of appearance they may look very similar, quite different or even like siblings.

Now, back to the question.

What Can Lead to a Multiple Pregnancy?

Fertility drugs: certain medicines and hormone treatments can help you body produce more eggs than it would on its own. They are also used for in vitro fertilisation and other assisted reproductive technologies. With more eggs to create embryos your chances of conception improve.

The chances of falling pregnant with multiple babies can also be related to:

  • Ethnicity: if you are of African descent
  • Physical appearance: if you are overweight or tall
  • Medication if you have just stopped using birth control
  • Hereditary: if you are a twin or there are twins in your family
  • Maternal history: your mother or your mother’s mother have had twins
  • Age: if you are 35 or older you produce more follicle-stimulating hormones which can result in the release of more than one egg in a cycle (even though older women are statistically less likely to get pregnant easily)
  • Pregnancy history: if you have previously been pregnant or if you have previously had fraternal twins

Nigeria is believed to be the country with the highest twinning rate. Some sources say it is related to consuming large quantities of yams, but we cannot prove it.

Risks Associated with Multiple Pregnancies

There will always be risks, even if you are just having one baby, but there may be more risks with a multiple pregnancy. Here are some risks to be aware of:

  • Birth defects
  • Genetic disorders
  • Delivering too early
  • Miscarriage (one or more)
  • Developing high blood pressure
  • Developing diabetes associated with pregnancy

Remember even though there are risks, you can still have healthy babies.

How will You Know if You are Pregnant with More than One baby?

Only your doctor can tell you by performing a fetal ultrasound. If you are carrying more than one you will need to go for more ultrasounds and physical checkups than if you are pregnant with one baby. It is important to monitor your babies’ development more closely.

What if You are Having Multiples?

The most important thing now is staying healthy, for your sake and of course your babies’ sake. Here are some tips, but be sure to consult you doctor for more details:

  • Do not miss any doctor’s appointment
  • Do not smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs
  • Do not take medicines your doctor is not aware of
  • Eat healthy foods with enough vitamins and minerals
  • Consult your doctor about exercising and rest
  • Ask your doctor about caffeine intake

Once your babies are born you will experience many emotions and lifestyle changes. It is normal to feel exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed.

How to Help Relieve Stress

  • Rest as often as you can, especially when your babies are sleeping
  • If your stress and possible depression does not go away, contact your doctor
  • There are many mothers with multiples and there are support groups for them
  • Do not hesitate to ask for help from family or friends; they are usually honoured

If you have any questions about twins or multiples, or if you want to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Call:     01 631 0092 / +234 (0)1 631 0092

Visit:    66 Oduduwa Way, Ikeja GRA

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