What Is Ovulation?
Ovulation is a process where a mature egg is released from the ovary. After being released, it flows down through the fallopian tubes and stays inside the uterus for 12 to 24 hours for fertilization. A female has a high chance of getting pregnant when live sperms survive in the fallopian tube during ovulation.
Menstrual cycle length varies among females, and the time between ovulation and the initiation of the next menstrual cycle may also vary. In a female having 28 days of menstrual cycle, ovulation usually occurs on the 14th day or middle of the process. Women facing irregular menstrual cycles can predict ovulation by maintaining a menstrual calendar.
Over-the-counter ovulation kits are also available to predict ovulation in females. These kits test the urine for the surge in hormones before ovulation. Ovulation often occurs after 36 hours of receiving a positive result.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation?
Females can notice some signs and symptoms indicating ovulation. The typical symptom observed is vaginal discharge. The discharge may look clear and stretchy resembling raw egg whites. After ovulation, cervical mucus decreases and becomes thick, cloudy, and less noticeable.
Ovulation may also cause slight bleeding, breast tenderness, raised basal body temperature, increased sexual drive, and ovary pain on one side of the abdomen. Not everyone experiences these ovulation symptoms. So these symptoms are considered secondary in knowing the fertile period in females.
What Is Multiple Ovulation or Hyperovulation?
In ovulation, only one egg is released in a menstrual cycle. But sometimes, more than one egg is matured and released by the ovary. This condition is known as hyperovulation. It can occur naturally or can be stimulated using hormone treatments for egg donation. When more than one egg is released under normal conditions, getting conceived with fraternal twins or triplets also increases. Fraternal twins may also be formed when two eggs are fertilized by two sperms in a single menstrual cycle. Hyperovulation may also occur when both ovaries release an egg or an ovary releases more than one egg.
How Often Does Hyperovulation Occur?
Follicles are fluid-filled sacs that mature into eggs when there is a surge in luteinizing hormones. Females having balanced hormone levels may have ovulation multiple times, and that female may be fertile at any time in a month.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Hyperovulation?
Hyperovulation cannot be detected easily using ovulation kits. The only way to diagnose hyperovulation is by doing an ultrasound. Experiencing excess white stretchy vaginal discharge indicates hyperovulation.
Is There Any Link Between Hyperovulation and Multiple Pregnancies?
Multiple pregnancies can occur due to hyperovulation, but it is not the only way. Identical twins are formed when one egg is fertilized and split, creating two fetuses with identical DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
In recent decades, there has been an increase in the growth rate of multiple pregnancies due to the rise of fertility treatments. Twins happen naturally in 1 out of 250 pregnancies, triplets in 1 out of 10,000 pregnancies, and quadruplets in 1 out of 700,000 pregnancies.
Though it is rare, it is possible to have identical multiples when more than one fertilized egg splits, resulting in two different sets of identical twins. As the number of fetuses increases, the other potential complications also increase.
What Are the Factors That Increase the Chance of Having Multiple Pregnancies?
Many factors increase the chance of having multiple pregnancies. The factors that increase the likelihood of having multiple pregnancies are,
Some females may produce more FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) in the body. So more than one follicle can become dominant, resulting in the release of more than one egg. Females having a family history of multiple pregnancies have a greater chance of getting pregnant with more than one baby at once.
Women above thirty years of age have a high chance of having multiple pregnancies because FSH hormones rise with aging.
3) Height and Weight:
According to the journal of reproductive medicine published in 2006, taller women (above 164 centimeters or 5’4”) and females with a BMI (body mass index) above 30 have a more likely chance to give birth to twins.
4) Previous Pregnancies:
Having one or more previous pregnancies with multiple babies increases the chance of having multiple babies again.
Females taking more dairy products in their diet also have a greater chance of giving birth to twins.
6) Fertility Medication:
Drugs stimulating ovulation may cause more eggs to be released, resulting in twins, triplets, and higher-order multiples.
7) Stopping Birth Control Pills:
Soon after stopping birth control pills, ovaries can release more eggs and increase the chances of having multiple pregnancies.
8) Assisted Reproductive Technology:
Assisted reproductive technology is a treatment given for infertility. The examples of ART are in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT). Around 20 to 30 percent of successful IVF treatments result in twins. IVF can also cause multiple pregnancies as more than one embryo is transferred into the womb to increase the likelihood of implantation.
What Are the Complications of Multiple Pregnancies?
It is exciting to be pregnant with multiple babies, but it also contains some risks. The difficulties faced are,
1) Premature Labor and Birth:
Premature babies are born before their bodies and organs are well matured. These babies are small with low birth weights and require help for breathing, eating, fighting against infection, and staying warm.
2) Gestational Hypertension and Anemia:
Women with multiple fetuses have a high chance of developing high blood pressure and anemia. Gestational hypertension develops earlier during pregnancy and increases the chances of placental abruption (early detachment of the placenta).
3) Birth Defects:
Multiple birth babies have a high risk of having congenital abnormalities, including gastrointestinal or heart abnormalities and neural tube defects.
In vanishing twin syndrome, more than one fetus diagnosed may vanish in the first trimester. This condition occurs commonly in multiple pregnancies and may or may not occur with bleeding.
5) Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome:
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome is a condition of the placenta that develops only with identical twins. Blood vessels connect within the placenta and transfer blood from one fetus to another. Then, the blood is shunted from one fetus to another through blood vessel connections in the shared placenta.
Over time, the recipient fetus receives more blood and overloads the cardiovascular system causing too much amniotic fluid to develop. The smaller donor fetus does not get enough blood and contains fewer amounts of amniotic fluid.
Hyperovulation is a condition where more than one egg is matured and released from the ovary. Hyperovulation can create multiple pregnancies, and it is not the only way for creating multiple pregnancies. Though females getting pregnant with multiple babies feel excited and happy, it also poses serious risks for both mother and the babies. The mothers can safely deliver multiple babies by having regular checkups with the gynecologist throughout the pregnancy. In case of any doubts about multiple pregnancies, you can seek professional help from our specialists.
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