Finding out that you’re expecting twins is amazing news. It’s a double miracle and a very special and exciting time in your life. But do you know what happens during twin development in the womb? Here’s a quick guide to what’s happening inside your uterus!
Twin development in the womb: How it happens
Identical twins share 100% of their genes and have the exact same DNA. Identical twins form when one egg and one sperm meet up and split into two separate embryos. Non-identical or fraternal twins happen when two eggs are fertilised at the same time by two sperm cells. Those sperm cells develop separately in the womb. Fraternal twins are like normal siblings that happen to be born at the same time.
Do twins share the placenta?
This depends on how the eggs split during those first days after conception. Fraternal twins have their own placenta as they form in their own sacs. Twin development in the womb is a little more complex when it comes to identical twins.
Identical twins can have separate placentas or share one source. If the embryo splits right after conception, the chances are that they’ll form and develop much like fraternal twins with their own placentas. If the split is delayed, the embryos will develop separately but will share a single placenta. These twins will also most likely be enclosed with a shared chorion – which is the outer layer of the sac that contains the fetus.
Risks with multiple pregnancies
There’s always some degree of risk tied to a twin or multiple pregnancy. And the mom-to-be is at risk in physical and emotional ways. First and foremost, the cervix has to be measured routinely to ensure it is closed and long enough to carry the babies as far as possible. The amniotic fluid and umbilical cords are just as important. Nowadays, most twins are born via C-section between 36 and 38 weeks if it is a low-risk pregnancy without complications.
How to have a healthy pregnancy with twins
- It’s advisable to consume wholesome, nourishing foods throughout pregnancy, but never to eat for two or three. Stick to average size portions and smaller meals throughout the day.
- Rest as much as possible and don’t feel bad about putting your feet up whenever the opportunity arises.
- Consider joining a support group, such as the South African Multiple Births Association (SAMBA), to give you that backup you’ll need.
- Try to incorporate regular but gentle exercises into your daily routine. This helps boost blood flow and keeps your weight in check. It can also help ease general aches and pains and alleviate pregnancy fatigue.