Expecting Two Babies: Twins or Twins?

Expecting Two Babies: Twins or Twins?

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Will they be identical as two drops of water or similar? Babies that grow together in the womb, in the same pregnancy can be twins or twins. While twins are identical and the result of a monozygotic pregnancy where the zygote divides in two and gives rise to two very similar beings, the twins only look like brothers, they can be of different sex and are the result of two embryos different that coincide in time.

Getting an answer to this question is important. The truth is that it is not only about satisfying the curiosity of future parents, it can be important for medical reasons.

- Single placenta: It is estimated that 15 percent of twins share a single placenta during pregnancy. The shared placenta can give rise to a special risk, the so-called twin transfusion syndrome, a dangerous condition, in which one of the twins 'donates' fluids to his brother, who tends to grow faster than the 'donor' brother. If not treated properly, this disease can be fatal for both babies.

However, if signs of this condition appear and the syndrome is detected early, there is a treatment that can prevent complications and keep babies healthy.

- Genetic disease: Determining if they are identical or fraternal is also important when the genetic load carries a hereditary disease. In the case of identical twins, if one suffers a genetic disease, the other will also suffer from it or vice versa, since it is also possible that neither inherits the disease. While if it is twins, it is possible that only one of the two inherits it.

To know the condition and sex of babies with complete certainty, it is necessary to obtain a DNA sample from each one. The high reliability of DNA analysis offers excellent results, but to obtain it, the future mother has to undergo different prenatal tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling or chorion biopsy, which are invasive for the mother.

There is another alternative, transvaginal ultrasound, which has no risks for pregnancy. This test, which consists of the introduction of a device through the vagina, between weeks 9 and 14 gestation, can determine with 98 percent confidence and reliability whether babies share a single placenta. The reliability index drops to 90 percent if the test is performed during the second trimester of pregnancy, because the volume and size of the babies can prevent the correct visualization of the placenta.

The latest ultrasound advances that have incorporated more sophisticated techniques for Doppler and 3D and 4D imaging have positioned ultrasound as one of the most reliable and least risky prenatal tests for mother and baby. Thanks to these advances, between the week 18 and 20, it is possible to visualize the sex of babies, as long as they are positioned so that the genitals can be seen. If the ultrasound clearly shows that you are expecting a boy and a girl, it is clear that they are twins.

Doubts are usually more frequent in the case of twins, because although identical twins are always of the same sex, twins can also have the same sex. On the other hand, if the babies share a single placenta, they are identical twins. If there are two placentas, the babies can be fraternal twins or twins. All twins and 20 to 30 percent of twins have separate placentas.

Marisol New.

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