Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists and Multiple Gestation
Pregnant with Multiples? Here’s Why You Should Consider an MFM Specialist
In a multiple gestation pregnancy, a mother ends up carrying more than one baby. Some women are more likely than others to have multiple gestation pregnancies: age, fertility treatments, body weight, and family history can all play a role in whether a woman ends up with more babies than she expects. While many multiple gestation pregnancies have healthy results for the mother and her babies, any pregnancy that involves more than one baby is going to be considered high-risk. Even healthy women with a multiple gestation pregnancy should consider seeing a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.
Nutrition and Health
Staying healthy is important for any mother-to-be, but for women carrying multiple babies, extra care needs to be put in to make sure that everyone gets the nutrients they need. Multiple gestation pregnancies generally result in more weight gain than single pregnancies, but there’s no diet unique to a multiple pregnancy. Your MFM specialist, nutritionist, or dietician will recommend additional folic acid, protein, iron, and calcium to make sure all of your babies’ bones and organs develop. They will also be able to recommend prenatal vitamins that are right for you. If you’re a woman who develops gestational diabetes while pregnant with multiples, the advice of a dietician will also help you control your blood sugar.
Exercise is an important part of any activity, and your specialist will be able to recommend the activities that are appropriate for you. Keep your fitness regimen low-impact and not strenuous, especially later in your pregnancy. You might also need to reduce your physical activity, which is something else to discuss with your healthcare team.
From the moment of the ultrasound exam that confirms that you’re pregnant with multiples, your pregnancy is likely to be filled with many tests. Multiple gestation pregnancies require more frequent health visits than single pregnancies, and you’ll need more testing to make sure that everyone is healthy. You will probably need more ultrasounds and other tests like nonstress tests and biophysical profiles to monitor your babies, and MFM specialists will know exactly what to look for in those results.
Some diagnostic tests will be harder to perform or less accurate in multiple pregnancies. Genetic tests that analyze the mother’s blood are less sensitive in multiple gestations than single gestation, and chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis will prove more difficult with more than one baby. An MFM specialist will be able to give you guidance on which tests to proceed with and help you best interpret the results.
Multiple pregnancies usually have higher rates of complications than single pregnancies. The most common of these complications is usually preterm birth. Depending on how prematurely the babies are born, some of their organs or their immune systems might not be fully developed, which makes them less prepared for the outside world. Babies who are born between 34 and 37 weeks tend to do well, but any babies born before 28 weeks will require intensive care and some good luck. An MFM specialist might be able to delay your labor for a few days and administer drugs to help the babies develop faster if this happens.
There are other complications associated with multiple pregnancies, both for mothers and babies. An MFM specialist is trained to look for the signs of these complications and how to treat them to give everyone a chance at the best possible outcome.
• Twin-twin transfusion syndrome
• Birth defects or disabilities, including spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and congenital heart defects
• Placental abruption
• Postpartum hemorrhage
• Unequal or low birth weights
• Growth problems
• Miscarriage, neonatal death, and stillbirth
A lot of multiple pregnancies require a c-sections, especially those that involve more than two babies. An MFM specialist trained in delivering multiple births will be able to help you with your birth plan. The number of babies as well as their position, weight, and health will determine how the doctor proceeds with your delivery, as well as your health, how labor is going overall, any other complications, and your doctor’s level of experience with multiple deliveries.
Peace of Mind
TPregnancy is as overwhelming as it is joyful for many mothers, and this can be especially true for women with multiple pregnancies. Because the risks are higher, it seems like there’s more to panic about, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As long as you have confirmation that you’re carrying multiple babies, you can assemble the right healthcare team to work with you and your babies. A team that includes an MFM specialist trained in handling multiple pregnancies can help you catch any potential complications and treat them before your due date. While it’s worth being familiar with the risks, you shouldn’t obsess over what could go wrong. Stick to your doctor’s advice and appointment schedule, keep yourself healthy, and be familiar with the warning signs of premature labor, just in case.
MFM Specialists at Valley Perinatal
More babies means more love in your family’s future. It also means more risks and more chances that something could go wrong, but that doesn’t have to be a guarantee. Mothers with multiple gestation pregnancies will without a doubt benefit from the help of an MFM specialist that is specially trained in delivering multiples. For mothers in the Phoenix region, the VPS team can co-manage a multiple pregnancy to provide the testing, care, and consultations that the mother and babies need to stay healthy. What’s more is that we’re ranked among the top one percent of perinatologists in the nation, and one of our doctors has delivered more quintuplets and quadruplets than any other perinatologist. For more information on co-managing your pregnancy or to schedule a service, get in touch with any of our locations online or by phone at 480.756.6000.
Multiple Pregnancy with Valley Perinatal Services
Being pregnant with multiples can mean extra joy for you and your growing family. It can also result in a great deal of anxiety. While no pregnancy is without risk, a little extra care during a multiple pregnancy can make a big difference for everyone.
Valley Perinatal Services can be that extra help. Our team ranks in the top 1 percent of the nation’s perinatologists, and our own Dr. John Elliott has delivered more quintuplets and quadruplets than any other perinatologist in the world.
If you are a mother looking for advice or an Ob/Gyn looking to co-manage a multiple pregnancy, we can help. Get in touch with any of our seven Arizona locations by calling 480.756.6000 or contact us online for an appointment.