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Twins

Twins get a lot of attention - though not as much now that there are quads, quints, and even septuplets wandering around news magazines on a regular basis. But twins are still a source of excitement and interest, and no one is more excited or interested than the mother who figures out that she is expecting a double delivery.

There are four ways that twins are conceived, and three resulting types of twins:

  • When two eggs are released or there is more than one ovum, sperm may fertilize both eggs, resulting in fraternal twins. The conception of fraternal twins tends to run in families and is more common in women between the ages of 35 and 40 and in African American women.

  • When only one egg is released and fertilized, but splits, identical twins result. About one-third of twins are identical and their occurrence is random.

  • When one egg splits and both halves are fertilized by different sperm, "polar body" twinning results. These twins are half identical.

  • In the course of the IVF fertility treatment, three or more fertilized eggs are assembled and put back into the uterus to grow. The result is fraternal twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, or even septuplets.

Though the female body can create and carry all varieties of twins, it was designed to carry only one baby at a time. To survive carrying two, make sure to get help before, as well as after, delivery. You need all your energy for your babies and for the pains and discomforts of pregnancy, which can be twice as bad with twins. If you are expecting twins, expect to gain between forty and fifty pounds. In order to do so and to grow body tissues for your placenta and babies, you will need to eat 130 to 150 grams of protein every day. It is also important that you take an iron supplement to make sure that you and both of your babies get the oxygen you need delivered through your blood.

Carrying twins is considered "a complication" of pregnancy because it creates slightly higher risks of miscarriage, fetal loss, unequal fetal growth, placental problems, premature births, low birth weights, developmental lags, and other challenges to your babies' health, and your own. So take extra special care during your pregnancy.

When it comes to delivering your babies, you will probably do so before the usual forty weeks of pregnancy have passed. It's considered normal for twins to arrive around 34 to 35 weeks. It's also common for twins to be delivered by cesarean section.

Though carrying twins is not easy, and caring for them after birth is a daily adventure, bringing two babies into the world at once will be double the joy and love.

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