Having twins is a blessing, but unfortunately it does make the pregnancy and delivery more complicated in a few ways. Even perfectly healthy twin deliveries are more difficult, and doctors often recommend a cesarean delivery to make sure everything goes smoothly. Once complication that many mothers worry about once they learn about their twin fetuses is whether or not the twins will be conjoined. Since the two babies are in such close quarters in the womb, it seems impossible for them not to become attached in one way or another. Believe it or not, conjoined twins are extremely rare, and you shouldn’t worry about having them if you find out that you’ll be delivering twins.

Studies show that there is no specific reason that some twins become conjoined in utero. Technically, they are conjoined when one single egg fuses upon separation instead of separating completely. However, experts cannot figure out what makes this fusion happen. Incredibly, women don’t even know they’re having conjoined twins until the doctor delivers them. They could be spaced perfectly on every ultrasound image so that doctors and nurses alike will think there is a single body forming.

On the off chance that you have conjoined twins, you’ll need to make the decision early on about whether or not you’d like to separate them surgically. Many twins are connected at the head, but sometimes their positioning makes a normal life physically impossible to lead. In these cases, separation is preferable, but the decision is totally up to you and your partner. Conjoined twins that are delivered successfully are a rarity to begin with, so it can be extremely difficult to make such a choice. If you need help making your decision, don’t be afraid to reach out to support groups regarding parenting conjoined twins.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do during your pregnancy to prevent the occurrence of conjoined twins. Nothing you eat or drink will make the fusion of the embryo more likely. If you’re concerned after you find out that you’re having twins, just make sure your doctor carefully checks each ultrasound to see that the babies are separate. Though it can be hard to tell, it will be obvious in most cases when the babies are not touching each other in the womb. If you do find out that you’re having conjoined twins, start making preparations early for potential surgery and aftercare.

Source: ML Brizot et al: Conjoined Twins Pregnancies. Obstetrics and Gynecology Volume 31 Issue 12 pp. 1120-1125 December 2011

Keyword Tags: