The idea of carrying twins is quite thrilling. It means that you are having double the blessings, double the fun, and double the love; but what about the risks that might arise from this pregnancy?
In fact, twin pregnancy can carry greater risks and challenges than singleton pregnancies; one of which is “Vanishing Twin Syndrome” which is more common than you think.
What is Vanishing Twin Syndrome?
“Vanishing Twin Syndrome” also known as “Disappearing Twin Syndrome” is a type of miscarriage that occurs when a twin or multiple dies in the uterus or vanishes, turning what was supposed to be a twin or multiple pregnancy into a singleton one. One day you are pregnant with twins, but the other day you are not; the follow-up ultrasound can detect one fetus, and the second one is nowhere to be seen!
The vanishing twin’s tissue gets reabsorbed by the mother and the surviving embryo, without usually posing any threat to any of them.
Unlike many people think, vanishing twins is common but wasn’t discovered until 1945. In fact, it is more common than you think but usually goes undetected by the mother and doctor during early pregnancy. Thanks to the modern age of ultrasound, more cases are being detected during the first trimester.
What causes Vanishing Twin Syndrome?
Usually, after miscarriage, mothers tend to blame themselves, believing that they did something wrong; and questions like “where have I gone wrong?”, “will the vanishing twin impact the surviving one?” will haunt them the entire pregnancy. However, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent Vanishing Twin Syndrome as chromosomal abnormalities present at conception are often the main reason behind a lost twin. Nevertheless, some factors can contribute to Disappearing Twin Syndrome, including, advanced maternal age (usually over 30 years), genetics, placental abnormalities, or the use of ART (assisted reproductive techniques).
Can Vanishing Twin Syndrome be treated?
The treatment depends on when the embryo disappears. If Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs during the first trimester there is nothing to worry about and no special medical treatment is required. However, disappearance after the first trimester can ring alarm bells. In this case, the pregnancy should be treated as a high-risk pregnancy, and frequent visits to a healthcare provider should be required. If the twin disappears in the second or third trimester, there is a risk of preterm labor, infection, or hemorrhaging.
Vanishing Twin Syndrome can give the mother mixed emotions; this is normal because she had a miscarriage but she is still pregnant! So, shall she grieve the loss of her baby? Or shall she be relieved that the other baby survived?
Seeking professional help is a must during this phase, and mothers should always keep in mind that even though they lost a child, there is still a pregnancy to embrace and a sunrise baby to look forward to.