Multiple Pregnancies: Causes, Symptoms, and Types
What is Multiple Pregnancy?

Multiple Pregnancy can be defined as when a mother gives birth to more than one or two or some times more than three babies. It can also be defined as pregnancy with more than one fetus. This also occurs in mammals like elephants and dogs Lions which gives birth some times more than 5 to 6 offspring at a time. So multiple pregnancies are very common in animals when compared to the human.

The names for the multiple pregnancies depend upon the number of children a woman delivers in one birth. Multiple pregnancies can be more than two babies or higher than three. The names can be given in the suffix form like this:

Two Babies – Twins

Three Babies - Triplets

Four Babies – Quadruplets

Five Babies – Quintuplets

Six Babies – Sextuplets

Seven Babies- Septuplets

Eight Babies – Octuplets

Nine Babies- Nonuplets

Ten Babies – Decuplets

How Multiple Pregnancy Occur?

When a sperm enters the ovaries then it gets fertilized and releases eggs.

Multiple pregnancies can happen in two main ways:

1. There are possibilities when one egg released gets fertilized may split before it implants in the uterus.

2. Or more than two separate eggs get fertilized by different sperm at the same time.

Types of Multiple Pregnancies:

These are the most common types of multiple pregnancies:

Fraternal Twins:

Fraternal Twinning is a process when two separate eggs or more than one egg gets fertilized by the sperm and gets implanted in the uterus. As they are two separate eggs and fertilized by different sperms the babies may not be identical and may be of different sexes as one boy and one girl. The children may be two boys or two girls but they may not look similar.

Identical Twins:

When one egg gets fertilized and later splits may lead to twins. As they split from the same fertilized egg the babies will be twins and identical. Like two boys or two girls with similar faces and structure. They will be of the Same Sexes and cannot be of different sexes.

Triplets And Higher-Order Multiple Pregnancies:

More than two babies that are Triplets, Quadruplets to decuplets are all considered as Higher-order multiple pregnancies. These may be identical or maybe fraternal too. When three individual eggs fertilized into the uterus they are fraternal. If one single egg splits into three or more and gets implanted in the uterus then they will become identical. That is Maybe three boys or three girls of the same faces and structures.

Causes for Multiple Pregnancy

There are so many factors among them some common factors or causes are given below:

Genetic or Heredity:

This can happen genetically too. For example: If the woman’s mother was having twins then the daughter may have twins too.

Older Age:

Woman older than 30-35 have greater chances to get multiple pregnancies naturally. Some studies say that this happens due to a higher level of Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH). So many women sometimes wait for late marriage or the women who get late marriage expect multiple pregnancies.

High Parity:

Chances are there if in first delivery a woman gives birth to twins or triplet may have the same type of pregnancy in the second birth too.


African and American races are usually having twins at the largest level when compared to any other races. Native Americans and Asians have some lowest levels of twinning birth rates.Other factors like

Assisted reproductive Technologies:

IVF In Vitro Fertilization and some other techniques also use Ovulation by stimulating medications which help in producing multiple eggs which are then fertilized in the laboratory and then manually made inserted into the uterus to produce babies.

Symptoms of Multiple Pregnancies:

1. Morning tiredness, weariness or Sickness

2. Appetite may feel Increased.

3. The uterus may feel Larger than expected in the dates of the pregnancy.

4. A possibility is there that the woman might get overweight.

5. There may be movements in the fetus which may be felt in the different parts of the abdomen at the same time.

6. Severe Vomiting and Nausea during the morning.

7. Breast Tenderness.

Diagnosis for Multiple Pregnancies:

There are different types of Diagnosis in Multiple Pregnancy. Some of them include:

1. Pregnancy Blood Testing:

There may be huge possibilities to get higher levels of HCG Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin.

2. Ultrasound:

The diagnosis may include Computer and high-frequency sound waves to create images of tissues, blood vessels and organs to view internal organs which functions, and to assess the blood flow through various vessels. In Early Pregnancy, a vaginal transducer is used or an abdominal transducer in later pregnancy.

3. Alpha – Fetoprotein:

In Mother’s Blood the levels of a protein released by a fetal liver may be high in amount this happens when one or more fetus is producing protein.

Risk Factors for Multiple Pregnancies:
Gestational High Blood Pressure:

A Pregnant woman with multiple babies has chances twice likely to develop high blood pressure. This trouble may often occur earlier and this situation is worse than in pregnancy with a single baby. There is a chance to get raised in early detachment of the Placenta (Placental Abruption)

Gestational High Blood Pressure:

A Pregnant woman with multiple babies has chances twice likely to develop high blood pressure. This trouble may often occur earlier and this situation is worse than in pregnancy with a single baby. There is a chance to get raised in early detachment of the Placenta (Placental Abruption)

Preterm Labor Birth:

More than three babies’ pregnancy over 50-60% is Premature (Born before 37 weeks). More babies count there are greater chances of Risk.

Babies born before their bodies in preterm condition have their organ system fully matured. These babies may be small in size and are light weighted. Their weight may be very less about 5 pounds. These babies will have trouble breathing, eating, fighting infections, and staying warm. Very Preterm babies like those born before 28 weeks may be weaker and they are at more risk as well. They may not have the strength to live outside the mother’s uterus. These kinds of babies need a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).


Anemia may be common in multiple pregnancies. There are many chances for the babies to develop anaemia.

Gestational Diabetes:

There are many possibilities for the woman with multiple pregnancies may develop gestational diabetes.

Birth Defects:

There are twice rate risks in Multiple pregnancies and the babies may have birth defects (Congenital) There may be troubles or ailment defects like spina, Bifida and other neural tube defects, there may be digestive tracts defects and have abnormalities in the heart too.


There’s a phenomenon known as Vanishing Twin Syndrome, in this process more than one fetus is diagnosed, but vanishes or miscarried. This can often happen in the first trimester. During this process, there may be bleeding. There may be more risk in the later trimester as wells.