What Happens When One Twin Dies in the First Trimester
Pregnancy Questions

What Happens When One Twin Dies in the First Trimester?

Unfortunately, loss of pregnancy in the first trimester (early miscarriage) is common for both multiple and single pregnancies. It usually occurs due to the inability of an embryo to develop normally. In some cases, however, there’s no known cause or reason for losing a twin.

The loss of a twin during pregnancy typically happens in the first three months, often before mum even knows she’s having twins. In rare cases, this happens later on in the pregnancy.

You may be wondering what happens when one twin dies in the first trimester, so here’s what you need to know.

Loosing a Twin During Pregnancy

Losing one of your babies on the first trimester usually has no impact on the surviving developing baby. If you’re excited about having twins, you’re likely to feel empty when you realize you’ve lost one of the little ones.

If the result was a twin pregnancy before but you suddenly see just one baby on your recent scan, that only means that you’ve had the vanishing twin syndrome. And when a mother looses a twin in the first trimester, the tissue of the lost twin is then reabsorbed. In this situation, you might experience few symptoms or none at all, apart from some light bleeding or spotting and mild cramping.

If one twin dies in trimester two or three, the surviving twin is more likely to suffer complications. Your doctor will need to monitor you and your baby more carefully. He’ll try to strike the perfect balance between keeping your baby a bit longer in the womb, or determining if it’s safer for the baby to be delivered early.

Most kids whose twin dies in trimester two or three are born healthy. But there’s a higher risk of complications like cerebral palsy, especially for identical twins. Not to mention the fact that there might be a higher chance of getting into early labor.

pregnant woman in bed covering her head

You might feel upset by the thought of the dead twin remaining in your uterus with the surviving twin. Then again, some women are comforted by the idea of their twins staying together. You might even feel guilty about being happy about your surviving child. Don’t worry, all of these feelings are completely understandable.

Your doctor (or midwife) can help you plan a delivery that meets your surviving baby’s needs, and respects your loss. Speaking with a bereavement midwife prior to the birth of your baby can also be useful. From there, you can get the help you need to get ready for birth, and talk about any funeral plans for the twin you’ve lost.

Get Support for Vanishing Twin Syndrome

Losing a twin especially can be a devastating experience. Many moms and dads may find it difficult to get the support they might need. They have their hands full looking after their newborn, but they’re still mourning the loss of the other baby. Amid the excitement of having a newborn, it’s vital to acknowledge your grief and find support if necessary.

If months later you feel as though you still aren’t coping well, or the problem is getting worse, speak to your midwife or doctor. They’ll be able to advise you about where to find local support or recommend to you a more structured counseling program.

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