Twins for child
Although new diagnostic machines like ultrasound scanners (241) can tell if there are two babies, a small percentage of twins arrive unexpectedly and throw everyone into a state of confusion! Even though twin births are relatively common (one in 80 white births and an even higher number in black people) the birth of two or more children at once is greeted with excitement. The tendency to produce twins runs in families, usually skipping a generation so that a woman who gave birth to twins is likely to have a granddaughter who will also have a multiple birth. Identical twins originate from a single egg, fertilised by one sperm as normally happens in a single pregnancy. Early in its development, however, the egg splits so that two identical babies are created with one placenta. These babies are always of the same sex and identical in every way, although slight dissimilarities will usually be noticed by those who know them well.
Non-identical twins result when two eggs are released at the same time and are fertilised by two spermatozoa. Two placentas are formed and the babies are as different as if they had been born years apart.
Caring for twins is basically the same as for an individual child, and breast feeding is possible (80). Prematurity is common in twin pregnancies and the mother should be given every opportunity to bond with her babies. (See Prematurity p. 245 and Bonding p. 15.) Most mothers today do not dress their twins alike so that a sense of separate identity can be fostered. Useful help, advice and support are available to mothers of twins through associations catering for their specific needs. (See p. 307.)
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