Is this topic for you?
This topic is for women who
are pregnant with more than one baby. It focuses on the questions that are
specific to multiple pregnancies. For information on what to expect during
pregnancy, labor, and childbirth, see the topic
What is a multiple pregnancy?
pregnancy means that a woman has two or more babies in her
uterus. These babies can come from the same egg or
from different eggs.
Babies that come from the same egg are called
identical. This happens when one egg is fertilized by
one sperm. The fertilized egg then splits into two or more
embryos. Experts think that this happens by chance. It
isn't related to your age, race, or family history.
If the babies
you're carrying are identical, they:
- Are either all boys or all
- All have the same blood type.
- Probably will
have the same body type and the same color skin, hair, and eyes. But they won't
always look exactly the same. They also won't have the same
Babies that come from different eggs are called
fraternal. This happens when two or more eggs are
fertilized by different sperm. Fraternal babies tend to run in families. This
means that if anyone in your family has had fraternal babies, you're more
likely to have them too.
If the babies you're carrying are
- Can be both boys and girls.
have different blood types.
- May look different from each other or
may look the same, as some brothers and sisters do.
See a picture of
identical and fraternal babies in the uterus.
What causes a multiple pregnancy?
If you take
fertility drugs or have
in vitro fertilization to help you get pregnant,
you're more likely to have a multiple pregnancy.
help your body make several eggs at a time. This increases the chance that more
than one of your eggs will be fertilized. When in vitro fertilization is used to help a woman get pregnant, the doctor may put several fertilized eggs in the uterus to increase the chances of having at least one baby. But this also makes
a multiple pregnancy more likely.
You're also more likely to have
more than one baby at a time if:
- You're age 35 or older.
- You're of
- You've had fraternal babies
- Anyone on your mom?s side of the family has had fraternal
- You've just stopped using birth control pills.
What are the risks of a multiple pregnancy?
pregnancy has risks. But the chance of having serious problems increases with
each baby you carry at the same time.
If you're pregnant with more than
one baby, you may be more likely to:
- Develop a problem that causes your blood
pressure to get too high
- Develop a type of diabetes
that can occur while you're pregnant
- Deliver your
babies too early. When babies are born too early, their organs haven't had a
chance to fully form. This can cause serious lung, brain, heart, and eye
- Have a
miscarriage. This means that you may lose one or more
of your babies.
- Have a baby born with a birth defect that occurs when something is wrong with the genes or chromosomes. Certain
genetic disorders may be more likely to occur in multiple pregnancies.