Women’s Health Care Resources

Obstetrics Services

Twin Pregnancy

Congratulations, you are having twins! Twins account for about 3% of all live births in the United States. The incidence of twin pregnancies is on the rise, mainly because of the use of ovulation induction medications and assisted reproductive technology (ART). A twin pregnancy is most often diagnosed on ultrasound. Ultrasound can also detect whether the twins are identical or fraternal.

With fraternal twins, each develops from a separate egg and sperm. Fraternal twins have their own amniotic sac and placenta. These twins may not look alike and can be boys, girls or one of each. Identical twins are more rare and occur when a fertilized egg splits early on and develops into two fetuses. Identical twins may share a placenta but usually have their own amniotic sac, although not always. Identical twins look very much alike and are always the same sex.

Prenatal Care and Nutrition

Nutrition is especially important if you are carrying twins as your body has higher energy needs. The risk of certain complications is higher with twins including high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, growth restriction and preterm labor so you will be closely monitored. Twin-twin transfusion syndrome is another possible complication in which more blood flow goes to one of the babies at the expense of the other. This syndrome is usually found in the second trimester and should be treated right away.

We will often recommend co-management of your pregnancy with the Perinatology Service at Waukesha Memorial Hospital adjacent to our main office.

In some cases, twins can be delivered vaginally and in others, a caesarean delivery may be required. The preferred route of delivery will be determined by the position of the fetuses, fetal heart rate monitoring and the health status of you and your babies.


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