An Identical twin. the same Sex.

Twins, Triplets: types, how they are formed, Risks!

A woman can be pregnant and give birth to more than one child. Two a twins, three are triplets, four are quadruplets, and so on. Isn’t it beautiful that a woman can give birth to so many children at a time?
Even as much as 7. This is known as Multiple gestation.

Today, we are going to explain how this happens, the types of twins, the chances of you having twins as well as the risks that come with being pregnant with more than one baby, so you can take precautions early on.

How Twins, Triplets are Formed

Twins can be formed in two ways.

  • Either from two different eggs that were released at the same time and both fertilized, or
  • from a single egg that was fertilized and then split into two.

Types of Twins

Hence, with these different ways of formation, there here are two main types of twins.

Monozygotic Twins

This is the one we know as the IDENTICAL TWINS. In this type, the woman ovulates ONE EGG which is joined by ONE SPERM and becomes ONE ZYGOTE. This now divides as it progresses into 2 babies, so they share the same component hence they are identical, like a photocopy of each other.
This type of twins are usually so similar you can barely tell them apart
They are always of the same gender. Either both are males or females. They can have the same placenta.

An Identical twin. the same Sex.
An Identical twin. the same Sex.

In the past in some places in Nigeria, the people did not understand how this happened, and they thought it an abomination to have one person in two places, hence, they killed them both until the coming of Mary Slessor, a Scottish missionary, who stopped the killing of twins.

Dizygotic twins

These are the ones you call NON-IDENTICAL or FRATERNAL TWINS. In this case, the woman releases TWO different EGGS during ovulation and these eggs are joined by TWO DIFFERENT SPERMS to become TWO different ZYGOTES and make 2 different babies.
These do not look identical just like the normal siblings, and they can be of the same/different gender. Either male and female or the same.
This is the more common type. About 70% of twins are non-identical.

Conjoined twins

This type is usually joined together either at the head, body or limbs. They share a particular part of the body. What happens in conjoined twins is that, they were supposed to be identical twins, but the division of the one zygote that was formed from one sperm and one egg now happened late (after day 13).

Cojoined Twins
Cojoined Twins. Image credits: BBC

Triplets, Quadruplets

These are all formed the same way as the twins. Only in this case, more than one or two eggs are released by the woman and they are all fertilized, leading to the development and birth of these numbers of children.

Care of Women with Twin and Higher Pregnancies

Every woman who is pregnant is advised to start antenatal care as soon as they confirm they are pregnant so that ultrasound scans and other examinations can be done to assess the lady and prepare for her delivery ahead of time, especially if she has more than one baby.

They would need more care and concern because they are a high-risk pregnancy.

Risk of Twin Pregnancy

Women with twin pregnancies require two times the care that normal pregnancies have.
This is because they are at more risk of all the complications of pregnancy like; nausea, vomiting, heartburn, hypertension, diabetes etc

As well as serious pregnancy complications like; Pre-Eclampsia, Ecclampsia, bleeding in pregnancy, increased perinatal deaths, growth restriction of the child, Twin-Twin transfusion syndromes (TTSS), preterm labour, etc.

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