You are elated because you are bringing a new life into this world. Now imagine you find out that you are pregnant with a second baby while you are already pregnant with one child. Wouldn't you be shocked? While the scenario might sound like something straight out of a movie, it can very much happen in reality. In medical science, a double pregnancy is referred to as superfetation and here's everything you need to know about it.

How Does Superfetation or Double Pregnancy Happen?

Double pregnancy is incredibly rare and can occur in very specific circumstances. Superfetation can only happen in one out of a few million pregnancies. It can happen when a woman ovulates multiple times, and a second egg gets fertilised. There have been cases of women ovulating twice in the same cycle or when they are already pregnant. Superfetation can also happen when a woman has a double uterus.

But according to a study published in the Journal of Reproduction and Sexual Health, the body sends signals to stop ovulation and block other pregnancies once you are pregnant. And once the egg is fertilised, it attaches itself to the uterine wall, preventing another egg from triggering the same process. Planning To Delay Your Pregnancy? Here's How to Predict How Long You Will Stay Fertile Before Hitting Menopause

Is Superfetation Different From Carrying Twins?

While superfetation can be mistaken for twin pregnancy in ultrasound, it may not be the same thing. Since the babies were conceived at two different times, there will be a difference in gestational age with double pregnancy. It can be a few days or weeks apart. There can also be a gap in the size of the foetus, which is also a common feature with twins.

Double pregnancy can technically also result from two different sexual encounters from two different people. For that again, a woman needs to ovulate multiple times in a cycle or ovulating when already pregnant. Pregnancy Side Effects: Unfortunate Things That Happen When You Are Pregnant!

How To Know You Are Dealing With Double Pregnancy?

There are no tell-tale signs of double pregnancy and doctors cannot even spot one unless there is a huge difference in gestational age or size. If the babies are too close in gestational age, you may not have any idea that you were dealing with a double pregnancy unless the babies are born. Since superfetation is rare; there is no specific test that your doctor would run. Is Your Body Ready For Pregnancy? Here's How to Create a Nourishing Environment for Your Baby in the Womb

Are Double Pregnancies Safe?

If you have good prenatal health, there should not be a problem with safety. However, it has been seen that multiple gestation pregnancies often need to be delivered early. Regardless of when the babies were conceived, they have to be delivered on the same day. The doctors may also need to induce labour early or deliver by C-section.

Bottomline – While superfetation is not impossible, you do not have to panic about double pregnancy as it is infrequent. Remember, double pregnancy can only happen in one out of a few million pregnancies.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 05, 2020 09:56 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website