Health Notes

When More than One is On The Way

by Katina Granger on June 22, 2017

Expecting multiples means double, triple or even quadruple the excitement. It also means an increase in the amount of face time they’ll receive with their health care provider to ensure that both mom and babies are safe.

“When we’re talking about multiple pregnancies, each pregnancy is different,” Dr. Neil Hamill, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Methodist Women’s Hospital, “but with more than one fetus come more common risks for some of our pregnancy complications.”

“The more babies, the higher the risk,” said Dr. Brianne Kling, an OB/GYN at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women’s Center.

And while there are risks, there are often steps that can be taken to help. That’s why doctors are keeping a close eye out for risks such as:

  • Miscarriage of one or more babies
  • Gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure and preeclampsia
  • Anemia
  • Increased chance of cesarean delivery
  • Having a baby born with a birth defect. Certain genetic disorders may be more likely to occur in multiple pregnancies.
  • Increased chance of preterm birth

“When we first start seeing patients who are expecting multiples, the news is often a shock to them,” said Dr. Kling. “We’re working with them to make sure they have the resources they need for a healthy pregnancy and so we see these women every week.

At each visit, physicians are checking the signs that mom and her babies are healthy and progressing as planned.

“We’re checking cervical lengths on mom and are making sure her uterus is not contracting,” said Dr. Kling. “We’re also making sure mom gets proper nutrition. We continue with ultrasounds, making sure babies are growing appropriately because they’re not going to grow the same way that a singleton would.”

Doctors are trying to help moms get to full term on their pregnancy – which varies depending on the number of babies they are carrying.

Dr. Brianne Kling, Methodist Physicians Clinic OB/GYN
Brianne Kling, MD
Dr. Neil Hamill, Methodist Maternal Fetal Medicine
Neil Hamill, MD

“Usually they say for every baby the gestational age they make it to you subtract 2-3 weeks for every baby,” said Dr. Kling. “A 40 week pregnancy is term for a singleton. Usually twins are going to be about 37 weeks, triplets are going to be even younger than that at about 35 weeks and so on.”

As delivery day draws near, doctors will often order bed rest or admit mom into the hospital to monitor the final days, weeks or months of pregnancy. They want to make sure she’s not contracting or that her cervix isn’t dilating or shortening.

“A lot of times with ones that have multiples that we’re watching very closely, a lot of them go on bed rest,” said Dr. Kling. “We try to counsel them on how it’s going to go. Being in a hospital and on bed rest for that long takes a lot of support from the staff, their doctors and their families. Having good family support that is definitely key because they’ve been laying in that bed all day long.”

Knowing what to expect when it comes to a multiples pregnancy can help expecting moms and their families pave the way for a safe delivery and healthy babies at home.

If you are expecting, speak with a Methodist Physicians Clinic health care provider to help prepare for a safe delivery and a healthy baby.




 

Katina Granger is a blogger and PR/Social Media Specialist for Methodist Health System.
Contact Katina at MethodistPR@nmhs.org.
Katina Granger

 

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