Strange, but it does seem to be a plausible situation. If you have ever wondered if becoming pregnant while you are already pregnant is possible; read on to find out that such a situation; though rare, can happen.
The cycle of pregnancy
Almost all of you must be familiar with the pregnancy cycle
. The ovaries release an egg which is then fertilized by the sperm. This fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining where it transforms into a fetus and then eventually grows to become a full grown baby in a period of 9 months.
Also read: The Best And The Most Accurate Ovulation Calculator For Pregnancy
The rare case of pregnancy
What if another egg attaches itself after one egg has already been implanted in the uterus? Such a situation is termed as Superfetation. This is very common in mammals in the animal kingdom and the human race is not far behind. Thus, women can get pregnant even when they are already pregnant. Both the foetus can continue to grow in a woman’s womb. One will be older than the other but they will share the same birthday. They will need to be delivered via C-section and the older one, in most cases, will be much bigger than the younger one, as they had more time to grow.
How is such a pregnancy possible?
Becoming pregnant while you are already pregnant is called superfetation. Superfetation occurs when a woman’s egg is fertilized by a sperm; while another fertilized egg is already growing in the womb. Biologically the pregnancy hormones shut down a woman’s ovulation system making it almost impossible to ovulate during pregnancy.
For superfetation to happen, the woman must ovulate again while she’s already pregnant. But this is almost next to impossible because when pregnancy happens, it triggers a rise in progesterone hormone which is the one that prohibits the ovaries from releasing more eggs. Also, when a woman becomes pregnant a mucus plug is formed in the cervix which blocks the semen from passing through the uterus.
Doctors and researchers suggest that delayed implantation maybe the case for most superfetation. When the implantation of the first embryo is delayed, the hormones may act the same as they did before a pregnancy; thus allowing ovulation.
So from superfetation or becoming pregnant while already pregnant; these things need to happen:
- Ovulation must take place when already pregnant
- Semen must be able to penetrate through the mucus lining
- Fertilisation needs to be successful in an already occupied uterus.
Thus, superfetation becomes very unlikely and rare because these 3 factors are near impossible to happen.
Also read: 9 Ways To Bond With Your Baby During Pregnancy
How would the babies be?
Both babies will be born at the same time. The difference between the two will depend on when the embryos started growing. The babies will be of different sizes and will have different ages. One baby will be physically bigger than the other because it has had more time to grow inside the womb. Usually, the difference between such babies is a few weeks.
Also read: Pregnancy Risks After 35 Years Of Age
There are no causes that can result in getting pregnant while one is pregnant. Researchers believe that in the cases that have been registered, artificial fertility treatments can be responsible for superfetation to take place. But how these treatments can be the cause of it, is still debatable and undetected.
A mother who experiences superfetation can undergo the same problems as a mother who gives birth to multiples. There is a higher risk of preterm birth, high blood pressure and even preeclampsia. Though this is very rare, you can get pregnant while you are already carrying baby in the womb.
Also read: Placenta: Development & Function During Pregnancy
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