If you are pregnant with more than one baby, you may be more likely to:
- Develop a high blood pressure or preeclampsia
- Develop gestational diabetes
- Develop anaemia
- Deliver your babies too early. When babies are born too early, their organs have not had a chance to fully form. This can cause serious lung, brain, heart and eye problems.
- Have a miscarriage. This may mean that you may lose one or more of your babies.
- Have a baby born with a birth defect? Certain genetic disorders may be more likely to occur in multiple pregnancies.
- Haemorrhage, both ante partum and postpartum.
- Have an operative delivery.
- Have severity of symptoms of pregnancy like nausea, vomiting, heartburn, breathlessness.
- Postnatal illnesses.
- In severe cases, death. Maternal mortality is 2.5 times higher for twin pregnancy than a singleton pregnancy.
These problems may or may not happen to you. Although a naturally occurring phenomenon, multiple pregnancies are considered high-risk. There are increased risks to both mother and babies.
Risks to the foetus or baby
- There is an increased risk of stillbirth.
- Increased risk of preterm birth.
- Due to preterm birth, the neonatal mortality rate is high.
- There may be a chance of long-term neuro-developmental delay.
- Chances of chronic lung disease.
- Increased risk of umbilical cord entanglement.
- Low birth weight.
Twin pregnancies are slightly more likely when the following factors are present in the woman.
- Between the age of 30 and 40 years
- Greater than average height and weight
- Several previous pregnancies
- History of twins in the mother’s family
Women undergoing certain fertility treatments may have a greater chance of multiple births. With in-vitro fertilisation, primarily due to the insertion of multiple embryos into the uterus, chances of multiple births increase.