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How your antenatal care will change if you’re having twins or multiples

Most twin or triplet pregnancies result in healthy babies with minimal complications. But to be on the safe side and to pick up on any issues early, you will be offered more antenatal care if you’re carrying multiple babies.

If you’re pregnant with twins or triplets, you will still have the same scans as women who are carrying one baby. You’ll be offered a scan at around 12 weeks and also a scan at around 20 weeks. But, depending on the type of multiple pregnancy you’re having, you will also be offered extra appointments to keep an eye on things. Let’s dive in.

If you’re carrying twins, there are three different types to be aware of:

  • Dichorionic diamniotic (DCDA) twins, which means that each twin has their own separate placenta with its own separate inner membrane (amnion) and outer membrane (chorion).
  • Monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twins, which means that the twins share a single placenta with a single outer membrane and two inner membranes.
  • Monochorionic monoamniotic (MCMA) twins, which share both the inner and outer membranes.

If, like us, your head is spinning with all that info, think of it like this: all non-identical twins are DCDA. A third of identical twins are DCDA. The other two thirds of identical twins are MCDA, and just 1 in 100 identical twins are MCMA.

The type of twins you’re carrying will affect what antenatal care you’re given by your midwife, doctor, and hospital. Here’s what you need to know:

  • DCDA twins: you’ll usually be scanned every four weeks as the risks are relatively low.
  • MCMA twins: you’ll have more frequent scans. This is because there’s often some cord entanglement with this type of twins, which can cause complications.
  • MCDA twins: you will have more scans and be monitored more closely because this type of twin has the highest risk of twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), which is an abnormality of the placenta.

It’s really important that you attend all of your appointments so that any complications can be caught early.