Three babies at once: triple joy and triple stress! Although triplets are extremely rare, they do happen. Read here how triplets are born, what risks exist during pregnancy, and how you can cope with the challenge of everyday life.
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Particular Rarity – The Birth Of Triplets
The probability of triplet pregnancy is calculated on the basis of the frequency of twin births. This is 1:85. Triplets are even less likely. Here the frequency is only 1:7000, which corresponds to a proportion of just 0.01%. Identical births are even rarer. The probability of identical twin birth is only 1:250.
Due to the increase in artificial inseminations and hormone treatments, the proportion of multiple births is also rising. In Germany, every 29th child is not born alone. In 1991, it was only every 42.
98% of all multiple births are twins. In 2016, out of a total of 792,000 births, 14,600 women were affected by multiple births. Of these, only 258 were triplets and 6 were quadruplets. Thus, the most common multiple births remains that of fraternal twins.
Two reasons, in particular, have been identified for the overall increase in the number of multiple births. The first reason is the increased average age of women at their first pregnancy. As women get older, more hormones are released that trigger ovulation. Then the ovaries are also more likely to release more eggs for fertilization.
Natural Spectacle Or Intervention – How Do Triplets Develop?
To understand the origin of triplet pregnancies, one must first look at that of twin births. Here, we distinguish between monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal). In the former, one egg is fertilized and then divides. If you have fraternal twins, two eggs pop out of the follicle at the same time and are fertilized by two different sperm. Thus, it is possible to have a boy and a girl.
In a natural way, triplets are formed by dividing again after the twins are formed. In the case of triplets, however, fertilization can be distinguished not only between monozygotic and dizygotic. Triune triplets are just as possible as monozygotic ones. Also, two of the triplets can be identical and the third child is different from them.
Monozygotic triplets are formed when the fertilized egg separates into three equal parts. Thus, all the children have the same hereditary characteristics and the same sex.
In fraternal triplets, two eggs were fertilized, one of which later separates again. In this way, you have a pair of identical twins plus a third child.
More frequently, triplets are created by in vitro fertilization (Latin for fertilization in a jar). In this process, several already fertilized eggs are implanted into the woman’s body. In Germany, the method is only allowed if a couple cannot conceive children for various reasons. As a rule, a polar body diagnosis (PKD) or a pre-implantation diagnosis (PGD) is carried out beforehand. Often two or three embryos are transferred into the uterus at the same time to increase the chance of successful implantation. Sometimes it happens that it is “too” successful and all embryos implanted at once. Thus, a triplet pregnancy can also result. In Germany, the implantation of a maximum of three (usually two) fertilized eggs is allowed. In recent years, however, the single-embryo transfer has been preferred more and more often.
Signs Of A Triplet Pregnancy
There are several signs that indicate multiple pregnancies. However, these do not turn out the same for every woman, for every pregnancy. Sometimes multiples can be detected early. It can already be seen during the first ultrasound.
In others, no different from a normal pregnancy can be seen at the beginning. Often the doctor can give an accurate answer by ultrasound between the eighth and twelfth week. Before that, it may be that there is an elevated HCG level.
In addition, rather uncertain signs include an oversized abdominal circumference or an increased fundal level (upper edge of the uterus). However, since a reliable examination is possible at these times, only the recordings of several heart sounds of different frequencies or the detection of at least two fetuses in sonography can definitively confirm the multiple pregnancies.
Triple Stress – Possible Pregnancy Symptoms
Triplet pregnancies are usually always classified by doctors as high-risk pregnancies. It actually always carries higher stress and greater dangers for mothers and children than single pregnancies.
Since the hormone HCG is usually released more strongly, pregnant women with triplets suffer more frequently from vomiting. Due to additional weight, women experience increased back pain and intestinal discomfort. In addition to insomnia and increased blood pressure, expectant mothers of triplets gain weight much earlier and also more.
However, these are only the harmless side effects of multiple pregnancies. The greatest risk is the increased likelihood of miscarriage. Since space in the mommy’s belly is limited, premature births are very common in multiple pregnancies. After the 24th week, unborn babies are considered viable. Children are also often affected by developmental delays because they have had too little space in the womb to develop sufficiently.
During pregnancy, a woman may have increased bleeding, go into premature labor and rarely experience a natural birth. As a rule, the more children you are expecting, the shorter the course of the pregnancy, which ends in a cesarean section.
Multiple Births Must Take Place In Hospitals
Since a multiple births (whether of twins or octuplets) is considered a risk, the births must be carried out in a hospital. Here, there are several possible complications that need to be taken care of quickly. Factors such as whether each child has its own placenta or whether the children even share an amniotic cavity play particularly important roles.
The more the children have independently, the higher the chance for a less complicated birth and more developed babies. If the children share a placenta, one child is usually better cared for. So the placenta is the crucial point here. Because fraternal twins each have their own placenta, they usually have a better chance of healthy development during pregnancy. In identical twins, for example, where the egg divides very early, they may still have their own placentas – but is usually the rare exception. If it divides a little later, the babies usually have one placenta. If it divides even later, they often have only one amniotic cavity. This poses a greater risk, especially for birth. If the egg separates very late, the probability of having Siamese children with body parts growing together is very high.
Unavoidable Cesarean Section?
In the case of twins, natural birth can take place. Here the initial position of the children plays the decisive role. You can give birth naturally if the first one is head down and is not much smaller than the second baby.
With triplets, however, natural birth is hardly possible. Since premature births are common, the babies are not in the right position, order or the mother would not survive three births in a row. On average, triplets are born between the 30th and 32nd week of pregnancy.
Records In Childbearing
In 2009, Natalie Suleman gave birth to eight children through multiple inseminations in the United States. Six boys and two girls, who are still developing normally and healthily.
In Germany, sextuplets were born in Berlin in 2008. Roksana Temiz gave birth to four girls and two boys in one day. Doctors at that time speak of a medical miracle, which has never been seen before in Germany. With the help of 26 people (2 anesthesiologists, 2 anesthesia nurses, 3 surgeons, an instrumenting nurse, 6 midwives, 6 neonatologists, and 6 neonatology nurses), Roksana and her husband managed to bring six healthy babies into the world. Within 3 minutes, the hospital team retrieved one child after another and provided all-around care for mothers and children. After three months, the now 9-member family was able to leave the hospital.
Initial Baby Equipment
The initial equipment for a baby is already very cost-intensive. If you need everything three times over, the initial costs can skyrocket. With a few tips and tricks, however, you can limit the costs so that you don’t end up in complete chaos.
Baby carriages, cribs, car seats, and diapers will be particularly expensive at first. But once purchased, many things can be resold.
Read all about diapers here and see if reusable diapers are an option for you and your children. This will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Not everything has to be new! Clothes can be wonderfully bought second-hand in second-hand stores, at the clothing market, at flea markets, or on eBay. Since babies grow quite quickly, many of the clothes were hardly worn.
Meanwhile, there are often flea markets or bazaars that are geared towards baby and children’s outfits. Here you can certainly make one or the other bargain. Always remember that a baby does not necessarily need a perfectly styled room. Newborns sleep with their parents in the early days anyway. A crawling blanket is often enough for playing. Later, especially with triplets, a playpen can be a real remedy. You can find the playpen test here.