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Causes of Multiple Births

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 12, 2012
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Causes of multiple births

Multiple births can occur due to many reasons. It has occurred naturally too but of late the fertility treatments seem to have caused a few more multiple births. Multiple births of more than 6 babies are heard from time to time and many times it is because of one of the fertility treatments.

Types of Multiple Pregnancies

  • Identical – In this type of multiple pregnancy, one cell is fertilised and then divides into two or more embryos. The distinctive feature of identical multiple birth kids is that they are always the same sex and also look the same. These sets of embryos share a single placenta but have different amniotic sacs.
  • Fraternal – In the case of fraternal multiple pregnancy, two or more eggs get fertilised with and implanted in the uterus. The babies that are born with such pregnancies can be of different sexes as that depends on the sperm which fertilised the egg. Both the placenta and the amniotic sac are separate in such pregnancies.

 

Natural Causes of Multiple Pregnancies

  • Genetic disposition towards multiple babies.
  • Age of the woman as those over 30 are more inclined to have multiple pregnancy.
  • If a woman has already had a multiple pregnancy, she is more likely to have another.
  • Multiple pregnancies are more common in some races. African-American women were noted to be most likely to have twins, while the least likely were Asians and Native Americans. The highest rate of higher order multiple births (meaning more than two) among women over 35, according to University of Virginia Health System, is in Caucasian women.


Infertility Treatments leading to Multiple Births


The fertility treatments lead to a spurt of egg production in a woman during her ovulation cycle. As it is too risky to fertilise and place only one embryo in the uterus, it is the usual practice in fertility treatment to place 5, 6 or more embryos. Now, if all or more than one embryo develop, it becomes multiple birth. That explains why Caucasian women over the age of 35 are producing more of multiple birth babies, as they get these treatments more than other women.


It has also been felt that due to the inclination of most women to delay their pregnancy to an older age, i.e. after 35, the chances of having multiple births have increased of late. However, the rise in intake of nutritive foods is also responsible for this phenomenon.

 

Read more articles on Childbirth

 

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