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Modern medicine and technology has made it possible for couples with fertility problems to conceive and become parents. Fertility treatments account for a large number of pregnancies and successful births in the United States alone. The following article discusses aspects of fertility treatments and possible multiple pregnancy and birth related issues.
Advanced fertility therapies such as Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and Controlled Ovarian Hyper stimulation (COH) are used by reproductive endocrinologists to help couples with fertility problems to conceive and give birth. Both the therapies are highly advanced and assure almost ninety percent successes. However these methods also account for a large number of multiple pregnancies and birth related complications. Hence it is very important that couples considering fertility therapy be prepared for the possible consequences.
The greatest risk of using therapies such as ART and COH for conception is the possibility of high orders multiple pregnancies. Researchers are working towards devising new solutions to prevent this occurrence.
Multiple pregnancy related complications:
Women carrying multiple babies are exposed to a range of pregnancy and birth related problems. Women carrying multiple babies are known to develop disorders such as:
Maternal anemia – Generally occurs due to nutritional problems. During pregnancy a woman’s cardiac output is more so that the body can supply the required amount of blood flow to the fetus for its development. In cases of high order multiple pregnancies, the body cannot increase the cardiac output to more than 50 percent causing uneven placental blood flow.
Gestational diabetes – Refers to a state when a woman with no previous history of blood sugar displays high sugar levels during pregnancy. The condition, if not controlled with proper diet and medication, can cause serious fetus growth related problems. Gestational diabetes can also cause chemical imbalances in a child post birth.
Preeclampsia – Can occur due to a number of reasons but the most common cause is high gestational blood pressure. The condition may affect the placental blood flow to the fetus causing serious damage to both the mother and child.
Multiple pregnancies can also result in high blood pressure which can be harmful.
Premature labor and premature birth: Premature childbirth is among the most common and serious high order multiple pregnancy related complications. The duration for which a mother can carry her children in the uterus decreases in cases of high order multiple pregnancies. A full term pregnancy for a single fetus is about 37 to 42 weeks. But in case of two fetuses the average period comes down to about 35 weeks and in case of triplets the period is even less, about 33 weeks. In case there are multiple fetuses, the gestation period is even less. As a result there are times fetuses are not completely developed. Babies are born with multiple respiratory and other organ complications. These children run the risk of developing illness later in life. Besides these, some children are born with serious birth defects.
Carrying and Delivering Multiples
The only way to ensure a healthy pregnancy term and successful childbirth, especially in case of multiple fetuses is constant medical evaluation and proper therapy. It is imperative for the expecting couple to be conversant with the preventive measures and risks of carrying multiple babies.
The pregnant couple should and must consult a maternal fetal medicine expert apart from a gynecologist and obstetrician. It is possible for those having twins to go for a normal delivery but women carrying multiple babies require a cesarean section.
Conclusion: Couples going in for fertility therapies must choose the correct fertility treatment in consultation with medical professionals. The program must adhere to certain ethical guidelines that can aid the couple and the family to manage multiple new born, their needs and proper child and mother care.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology have laid down a number of guidelines for couples choosing fertility therapies.
These organizations have a series of member programs that monitor issues related to multiple pregnancies and birth. Most of this research information is relayed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that in turn has public forum where people can come and get information.
Amanda Kidd is a blogger ant writer who is a religious follower of a healthy lifestyle. While writing on health-related topics, providing her readers with health information is always her prime agenda. Currently she is planning to write on alternative therapy for anxiety and its benefits.