Twins and Multiples: Are You Having More than One?
You look down at your pregnant belly and notice that it’s a bit more bulgy than perhaps it should be. You guiltily remember that jumbo bag of barbecue potato chips you scarfed down in between bouts of morning sickness. “Have I been eating too much?” you muse as you scrutinize your reflection in the mirror, poking your abdomen, which had been toned not too long ago.
Or maybe it’s that you just can’t seem to get yourself out of bed. You can barely lift your head off the pillow. You know that fatigue is common in early pregnancy, but come on—this is ridiculous. You feel like you’ve been run over by an 18-wheeler.
As you add up all the clues, you can’t escape the inevitable question, “Am I having more than one baby?”
Twins on the Rise
With the prevalence of fertility medication and high-tech methods of getting pregnant, the numbers of twins, triplets, and quadruplets is at an all-time high. According to birth statistics from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), the number of live twin births has increased 65 percent since 1980 and 38 percent since 1990—and by 2002, 31.1 of every 1,000 births in America was a twin birth. (In 1997, twins made up 94 percent of the multiple pregnancies in the United States, according to the CDC.)
In 2002, the rate of triplets and larger multiples was 184 per 100,000 deliveries. And between 1980 and 1998, multiple births climbed more than 400 percent, again, most likely due to fertility treatments used by the increasing number of older women having children, says the CDC.
If you take fertility medication out of the equation, Denise M. Chism, in The High-Risk Pregnancy Sourcebook, notes, “The overall spontaneous twinning rate is 1.2 per 100 live births, the rate depending on the type of twins. Triplets occur one per 6,889 and quadruplets one per 575,000 births.”
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