Dr. Cook recalls how common multiple births have become and how he determines whether babies are identical or fraternal.
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How Common Multiple Births Are My name is Dr. Curtis Cook. I’m a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. I’m the Associate Director for Phoenix Perinatal, that’s a group that provide high-risk obstetrics services throughout the greater Phoenix area and the East Valley, West Valley, downtown and Scottsdale. We are associated with the Banner system, also Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Phoenix. And a maternal-fetal medicine specialist is someone who just takes care exclusively of complicated pregnancies, usually referred in to us by other obstetricians or other care providers. In a high-risk pregnancy, it’s usually a mother with a pre-existing medical condition like high blood pressure or diabetes, a baby who has a suspected birth defect, whether it be a heart defect or some other kind of spine defect or whatever it would be, or the third category generally is just a high risk obstetrical situation like a multiple gestation, early labor, early water breaking, vaginal bleeding, things of that nature. Multiple births are becoming increasingly common in mostly, secondary to phenomena, one being assisted reproductive technology, as we are doing more IVF procedures and also because of women having children at later gestational ages where they are more prone to have twinning. Initially ultrasound is our best tool for that and the earlier the ultrasound performed the better, but in the first trimester optimally we look for a certain type of appearance of the separating membrane between the twins and then later in pregnancy, we try to see if we can see different genders that would also tell us some information, but mostly we look at the placenta, the membranes, and the gender of the infants with ultrasound.

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