“I guess you already know what you’re looking at!” The radiologist exclaimed when he looked at the monitor showing the first ultrasound image of the fetus I was carrying in my womb. It was the 12th week of my pregnancy and I was having a routine trans-abdominal ultrasound at the Hospital. The image that greeted me reminded me of a double-deck bed. There was a dividing membrane (the upper “bed”), and there was an unmistakable form of 2 fetuses. One was lying in the upper “bed” and one occupied the lower “bed”. Then it hit me like a lightning bolt: I was having a twin pregnancy!
Having a twin pregnancy is no easy task. Before even considering waking up in endless nights trying to soothe the cry of your babies, one has to take into account the long and arduous road leading up to the actual date of delivery. Twin pregnancy has more complications associated with it than a normal singleton pregnancy. Apart from the common complications encountered by a few pregnant mothers carrying a single baby, there’s the heightened risk for premature labor. The primary concern in premature labor is whether the babies’ lungs are fully developed. Fetal lung usually start to mature at 34 weeks. Thus, the optimum age for the twins to be delivered is 37-39 weeks. On the other hand, keeping the babies longer than the optimum age will pose danger and may lead to undesirable outcomes. Some obstetricians recommend complete bed rest especially when one is entering her 30th meek of pregnancy to lessen chances of premature labor.
Although some twins may be delivered normally as long as the criteria are met, most likely, Cesarian delivery may be indicated. This procedure lessens the risk of fetal distress which may be encountered during a normal delivery. However, cesarian section may pose high risk for maternal infection and puts the mother to longer periods of recovery.
Twinning commonly happens when two separate ova are released from the ovary in a single ovulation period and are fertilized by the sperm. Meaning, it is double- ovum, dizygotic or fraternal twins. When only one ovum is released and fertilized but later divide into two similar structure, a single-ovum, monozygotic or identical twins result. One rare variety of monozygotic twinning is when both fetuses occupy the same amniotic sac – Monoamnionic twins. This variety is the most problematic because of fetal complications that comes along with it such as umbilical cord entanglement and conjoined twins (wherein twins share some body parts due to incomplete division of the fertilized ovum during development).
Despite of the risks and the pains that accompany this type of pregnancy, the joy of having these two little creatures growing inside my womb is beyond compare. Having a baby is one of the greatest fulfillment for any young couple and as for me and my husband, we’ve been blessed by not only one but two little angels.
Reference: Cunningham Garry: Multifetal Pregnancy. Williams Obstetrics 21st edition, 2001