Complications of multiple pregnancy

Multiple pregnancies are quite common due to several factors such as the delay in maternity or assisted reproduction techniques. However, in this last case their amount is trying to be reduced by explaining to the patient that the ideal is the transference of just one embryo.

Dangers multiple pregnancies

Twin pregnancies are dangerous and involve risks for the mother and the babies, during pregnancy as well as at the moment of delivery.

Most common complications

Multiple pregnancies are the most complicated, due to the increase in volume that involves carrying more than one baby. The uterus bears an excessive weight and may expand itself exerting more pressure on the rest of the organs. Carrying two or more babies means also a bigger placenta and raises the hormonal levels in blood.

Multiple pregnancies involve a higher demand for the body of pregnant women and might increase the complications suffered when compared to a normal pregnancy. These complications may be:

Vanishing twin

During the first analysis of pregnancy (5 – 6 weeks) two twins are observed, however in the following examinations only one foetus appears. In 60% of the cases one twin doesn’t develop and it’s reabsorbed. The foetus that survives develops normally and without complications.

Weight increase

Logically the weight increase in multiple pregnancies is higher than when the woman carries just one baby. An increase between 12 and 18 Kg is recommended in twin pregnancies.

Weight increase multiple pregnancies

Chromosome alterations

In this kind of pregnancies it’s more common for chromosome alterations to take place. Furthermore, if the pregnant woman is advanced in age the risk to suffer any kind of chromosome disorder doubles.

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome

It takes place when the blood vessels of the foetuses are linked. One foetus may receive too much blood and the other too little. It can even lead to foetus death; however, there are several ways of solving it. The premature diagnosis is of vital importance.

Delay in growth

If the conditions of the placenta are not appropriate the babies may not grow enough. The risk of presenting low weight is of 20% with one placenta (monochorial twins) and 30% with two placentas (fraternal twins). It is also possible that one twin grows more than the other.

Smaller babies

Placenta praevia

Due to the presence of more than one placenta or a bigger placenta, it is possible that it lies very low in the uterus and blocks the cervix, which may provoke vaginal bleedings and increase the risk of premature deliveries.

Premature deliveries

The estimated risk of premature deliveries in multiple pregnancies is 25% to 45% depending on the source you get the information from. It’s been proved that numerous twin pregnancies last less than 37 weeks. The premature delivery can produce complications for the foetus, since it hasn’t developed fully and the mother can suffer from anaemia among other complications.

Some other risks of the twin pregnancies are:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Eclampsia and pre-eclampsia.
  • Hypermesis gravidarium (excessive vomiting).
  • Digestive disorders.
  • Postpartum bleeding.
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