Multiple Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


Multiple Pregnancy

Multiple pregnancy, also known as multiple gestation, refers to a pregnancy in which a woman is carrying two or more fetuses simultaneously in her womb. These fetuses can be of the same or different genders and can be either identical (monozygotic) or fraternal (dizygotic) twins. This text will take you deep into the types of multiple pregnancy.

What are the types of multiple pregnancy

Multiple pregnancies can be classified based on the number of fetuses and their zygosity (whether they are identical or fraternal).

What are the causes of multiple pregnancy

Multiple pregnancies occur when a woman carries two or more fetuses in her womb simultaneously. The main causes of multiple pregnancies are related to the release and fertilization of multiple eggs during ovulation. There are two primary mechanisms that lead to multiple pregnancies:

Fraternal (Dizygotic) Twins or Higher-Order Multiples: Fraternal twins, triplets, or higher-order multiples result from the fertilization of two or more separate eggs (ova) by two or more different sperm cells during a single ovulation cycle. Each fertilized egg develops into its own fetus, and each fetus has its own set of genetic material.


Identical (Monozygotic) Twins or Higher-Order Multiples: Identical twins, triplets, or higher-order multiples occur when a single fertilized egg (zygote) divides into two or more embryos during the early stages of development. Each embryo shares the same genetic material.


It is important to note that certain factors can increase the likelihood of having a multiple pregnancy:

What are the symptoms of multiple pregnancy?

Multiple pregnancies can be associated with some specific symptoms in addition to typical pregnancy symptoms experienced by women carrying a single fetus. However, it’s important to note that the symptoms of multiple pregnancies can vary widely among individuals, and not all women with multiple pregnancies will experience all of these signs. 

To avoid recurring infections, it is critical to treat any underlying diseases or factors, such as diabetes or hormone defects. 

Some common symptoms of multiple pregnancies include:

How multiple pregnancy can be diagnosed

The diagnosis of a multiple pregnancy is typically made through prenatal screening and imaging tests. Healthcare providers use various methods to confirm the presence of multiple fetuses and to determine their type (identical or fraternal) and the number of placentas and amniotic sacs they share. 

The main diagnostic methods for multiple pregnancies include:

How multiple pregnancy can be prevented

Preventing multiple pregnancies entirely may not always be possible, as some factors leading to multiple pregnancies are beyond individual control, such as genetics or the spontaneous splitting of an embryo. However, there are certain measures and considerations that can help reduce the likelihood of having multiple pregnancy:

It is essential for individuals and couples to have open and informed discussions with their healthcare providers about their reproductive goals and concerns. Healthcare providers can provide personalized guidance and recommendations based on each individual’s medical history and circumstances. Remember that while some factors can influence the likelihood of multiple pregnancies, certain aspects of multiple pregnancies are beyond control, and embracing proper prenatal care and management is essential for the well-being of both the mother and the fetus.

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