We’re guessing it was quite a shock when you found out you were carrying more than one! If you’ve recently found out that you’re having twins (or triplets, or more!) you’ve probably been scouring the internet for any and all information. A pregnancy where the mother is expecting multiples can be totally different from the traditional “singleton” pregnancy.
One of the ways the pregnancy is different is that you shouldn’t expect to go past your due date. While many new moms deliver earlier than the estimated 40 weeks, it’s pretty much a given when carrying more than one baby.
In fact, it’s estimated that half of all twins are born early, prior to 36 weeks gestation, which is almost a month before the standard 40 weeks gestation of a singleton baby. Triplets and other higher order multiples (such as quadruplets and quintuplets) have an even greater chance of being born early. There are a few reasons why you can expect that you won’t go past your due date with a multiple pregnancy.
6 Reasons Why You Won’t Go Past Your Due Date When Expecting Multiples
Early onset of labor, or preterm labor, is not uncommon in multiple pregnancies. Simply carrying multiple babies greatly increases the risk of preterm labor, so it’s vital that expectant mothers of twins or more know the symptoms and seek appropriate medical care as soon as possible.
Sometimes preterm labor can be halted for a few more weeks, but if not then the babies will be born early.
Mothers of multiples are automatically at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a disease characterized by high blood pressure combined with an elevated level of protein in the urine. If untreated, it can cause serious medical issues for the mother. While it’s possible for this condition to be managed for awhile, the only “cure” for preeclampsia is to deliver the babies. For this reason, many mothers of multiple babies may deliver early for the safety of everyone involved.
With twins, there can be one or two placentas, which is the organ that sustains the babies during their time in the womb. While problems with the placenta can also impact singletons, Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) is a disease unique to twins who share a placenta.
TTTS occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop in a single, shared placenta, resulting in an unequal exchange of blood flow. In severe cases that compromise the babies, delivery may be the best option.
A very rare type of twins are called monochorionic-monoamniotic twins (or Mo-Mo Twins). They not only share a single placenta, but are also enclosed in a single amniotic sac. This can be dangerous as pregnancy progresses because the twins can become entangled in each other’s umbilical cords. Mothers of mo-mo twins are closely monitored in their third trimester. If this complication begins to occur, early delivery is the best option for the babies’ health and survival.
IUGR, or intrauterine growth restriction, is when one or all babies are not growing sufficiently. About 25% of twin pregnancies experience IUGR, which can be caused by a variety of factors (low amniotic fluid, placental problems, or TTTS). If it’s determined that one or both of the babies has stopped growing and is in distress, early delivery is likely the best option.
Considered term at 38-39 weeks
Most major medical organizations recommend delivery between 38 and 39 weeks for uncomplicated twin pregnancies. However, your doctor may recommend earlier delivery depending on your specific situation. While many doctors feel “the later, the better”, for some, elective delivery at 37 or 38 weeks is ideal. Of course, this all depends on what’s going on with the twin pregnancy. For higher order multiples, delivery may be earlier.
Remember, the likelihood of delivering early isn’t all “‘doom and gloom”.
It’s often for the safety of the mother and babies, and many moms of multiples make it to 37 or 38 weeks with little to no issues. The best thing you can do to promote a healthy pregnancy and delivery is eat plenty of nutritious food, rest often, drink lots of water, and go to all of your doctor’s appointments. And never forget that what you and your body are doing is amazing. You got this!
Are you looking for an OB/Gyn you can trust? Do you live in the Tucson area? Let us join you on your amazing and unique pregnancy journey. Book an appointment today!