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Multiple Births

By

Julie S. Moldenhauer

, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Last full review/revision Jul 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

The term multiple births refers to the presence of more than one fetus in the uterus.

The number of twin, triplet, and other multiple births has been increasing during the last two decades. As many as 1 of 30 deliveries involves more than one fetus.

The following make women more likely to become pregnant with more than one fetus:

Risks of Multiple Births

Carrying more than one fetus increases the risk of problems.

Because the fetuses can be in various positions and presentations, vaginal delivery can be complicated. Also, the contraction of the uterus after delivery of the first baby may shear away the placenta of the remaining baby or babies. As a result, the baby or babies that follow the first may have more problems during delivery.

Carrying more than one fetus also increases the risk of problems for the woman. They include

Diagnosis of Multiple Births

  • Ultrasonography

Treatment of Multiple Births

  • Cesarean delivery when appropriate

Because problems can result from multiple births, doctors may decide in advance whether to deliver twins vaginally or by cesarean.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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