The birth rate of twins increased 76% from 1980 through 2009. In the same amount of time, the rate rose over 100% for women aged 35 to 39, and 200% for women over 40. Some healthcare professionals have referred to it as an epidemic of multiple pregnancies. In part, this is due to the rise of technology to combat infertility. In 2012, there were over 131,000 live twin births, over 4,500 live triplet births, and over 275 quadruplet births. Delivery for twins typically occurs between 36 and 37 weeks. For triplets, it is 33 to 34 weeks. Multiple gestation should always be considered high risk, and doctors should take extra care.
Mother’s Complications because of Multiple Gestation
Unfortunately, the heath of the mother and children are at higher risk with multiple pregnancies. Some complications that the expectant mother can experience include:
- Hyperemesis (serious nausea, vomiting and dehydration)
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Preterm labor
Child’s Complications because of Multiple Gestation
Health care providers must take care when multiple births are expected, particularly because preterm labor is more likely. Regular sonograms must be performed, and non-stress testing may be useful to assess the well-being of the children, and to predict cord compression. Restriction of blood and oxygen causes twins to be four times as likely to have cerebral palsy as compared to single births. Triplets are 17 times as likely to have cerebral palsy. The rates for death before age 1 are even higher. Delivery of the children depends in many ways on the fetal presentation of each child.
Other complications include:
- Prolapsed umbilical cord
- Placenta previa
- Gestational diabetes
- Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
The news of twins or other multiples is welcome, and can be a relief when faced with prior conception difficulties. However, there are well documented risks to the mother and children with multiple gestation, and health care providers must be on the lookout for any concerning signs. If you or your child had health problems around the time of birth, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.