Have you always dreamt of having three kids? Maybe all three at once? Or have you just found out you’re expecting triplets? If you need a quick guide to clue yourself up on what you might experience over the next few months, read on. We’ve got all the key info about being pregnant with triplets.
In this article: 📝
- What is a triplet pregnancy?
- How do you get pregnant with triplets?
- What are the symptoms of triplet pregnancy?
- Managing a triplet pregnancy
- How common is a triplet pregnancy?
- What about complications with triplets?
What is a triplet pregnancy?
So, let’s start with the basics – if you’re pregnant with more than one baby, doctors can refer to this as a multiple pregnancy. Twins are two babies, triplets are three, quads are four, quintuplets are five, sextuplets are six…
And the babies can be either fraternal or identical (in the case of twins it literally is one or the other), but for triplets or more you can have any combination.
Basically, if more than one egg is fertilized then your babies are fraternal (non-identical), and if one egg splits before implanting then you will have identical babies. With triplets you could have all fraternal, all identical, or one fraternal and two identical.
How do you get pregnant with triplets?
Twins and triplets can happen naturally, but fertility treatments have increased the number of multiple births over the years. This means having triplets isn’t as rare as it once was. So, what factors can increase your chances of getting pregnant with triplets?
Ovulation-stimulating medication: Medications such as clomiphene citrate help your ovaries release more eggs. And more eggs may mean more babies in one pregnancy.
In vitro fertilization (IVF): Eggs are fertilized in a lab and then implanted in your uterus to grow.
Family history: If you know of twins or triplets in your family then there is a slightly greater likelihood that you could have twins or triplets yourself.
Age: If you’re older than 30, there’s a greater chance you’ll have multiples.
Been pregnant before? If so, you could have a multiple pregnancy your second or third time, and even more so if you’ve previously had twins or triplets.
Race: If you’re an African-American woman, some studies have shown you may be more likely than women of other ethnicities to have a multiple pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of triplet pregnancy?
Is it possible to suspect that you’re pregnant with more than one baby before you have an ultrasound to confirm?
Yep, there do seem to be anecdotal tales of mama-to-bes of triplets having more intense early pregnancy symptoms. Things like feeling more exhausted or feeling that their bodies are growing bigger, sooner. It may be that you experience some of the less fun aspects of pregnancy earlier than in single pregnancies – things like reflux, constipation, or back pain.
And because you’re growing three new people you might need a different diet or more supplements. If you want tips and advice, why not chat to the community here on Peanut?
Managing a triplet pregnancy
Your obstetrician (OB) is about to be your new best friend because when you’re carrying triplets you get to see them A LOT. You usually get twice-monthly appointments until you’re 24 weeks pregnant. After that you’ll have a weekly check-up until your babies arrive.
As mentioned earlier, because you’ve got extra cargo your OB might discuss additional prenatal supplements with you, or a healthy diet plan that gives you plenty of calories. If you were planning to exercise during your pregnancy, then it’s usually fine, but your doctor will discuss it with you to make sure you’re comfortable and pacing yourself.
How common is a triplet pregnancy?
In reality, how many mamas give birth to triplets? Well, triplets are less common than twins, with only about [4,300 sets in 3.9 million births](https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/multiple.htm (just a little more than 0.1%, or 1 in 1,000).
But, with the increase in IVF treatments, multiple births are more common now than they were in the past. There are studies showing how rates have increased by over 75% since 1980 for multiple births.
What about complications with triplets?
Being pregnant with triplets is exciting, but it does come with some extra possible complications for your pregnancy and the birth. Don’t worry, though: your OB will be monitoring you and your babies carefully. Knowing more about any potential complications can just help you be more aware of your symptoms and understand more about the conversations you’ll be having with your doctor.
Here are some of the possible complications in a triplet pregnancy:
Premature birth: Your babies are fairly likely to arrive early (what’s known as premature birth). When you have a multiple pregnancy you may go into labor before 37 weeks. And for the average triplet pregnancy the babies can arrive at 32 weeks.
Premature labor: Signs like pelvic pressure, lower back pain, or even contractions can mean labor is happening too soon. If it can be delayed a little, then your babies have longer in your uterus to grow.
Delivery: For the safety of mama and babies, a c-section is often advised for a triplet pregnancy.
The placenta: This is the organ that nourishes your babies while you carry them. If one placenta is supporting multiple babies, it can share the nutrients from your body unequally. This may mean one baby is smaller than the others.
Newborn complications: Baby weight at birth is lower than average for triplets, at under four pounds. And early delivery can mean that a baby’s lungs, eyes, brain, and other internal systems aren’t fully developed yet. That’s why it’s very common for triplets to spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where the caring and skilled doctors will treat your babies and help them thrive and grow.
Talk to your doctor or other healthcare providers about any concerns or questions you might have as you start your triplet journey.
And in the meantime, perhaps indulge in some pregnancy treats or R&R times three, while you daydream about the adventures your little gang of three will get up to.
You might also be interested in:
A Short Guide to Identical Triplets