The CDC did more extensive studies on health of twins, both of twins conceived with IVF (in vitro fertilization) and twins conceived naturally, and found that there is a higher risk of complications or birth defects in both groups. The most significant risk is for multiple ventricular septal defects, in comparison with singleton births, the birth of a single child, with cardiovascular issues and musculoskeletal defects being the most common categories in both categories – mother using IVF or ICSI as well as mothers who conceived naturally without any reproductive medical assistance. There are more twins born to mothers naturally than through ART (assisted reproductive technologies, like IVF or ICSI).
Overall, twins conceived through IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies had slightly fewer birth defects than women who conceived twins without ART or IVF, and the risks within the assisted reproductive twins group where more at risk for hypoplastic left heart syndrome, omphalocele, or secundum atrial septal defects, as well as the eye abnormality anotia/microtia. The results are thought to better assist clinicians in counseling women on the risk of pregnancy of twins and multiples.
Although the risk of twins conceived through assisted technologies, such as IVF or ICSI, was associated with slightly fewer birth defects in comparison with moms who got pregnant naturally without medical assistance, all women TTC (trying to conceive) should be aware that getting pregnant with twins has some increased risk, and they should go to their doctor (GP, OBGYN or RE) as soon as they suspect they are pregnant. If a woman gets pregnant with twins, proper medical care and health care are important for keeping both mommy & baby safe throughout the pregnancy and delivery – good nutrition, proper exercise/movement therapy, acupuncture and prenatal yoga can all help a mommy feel better during pregnancy, and may in fact reduce her labor and delivery time (often cutting it in half, making things safer and more pleasant for both mother & child, with less medical interventions necessary). If you are a mother of twins and are interested in doing a home birth, or laboring and delivering at home, please discuss this thoroughly with your OBGYN and midwife first. The goal is to safely have healthy, happy babies, and have a healthy, happy mother as well. With education, access to information, proper medical care and good communication, we can all be on board with bringing healthy babies into the world.
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