Vanishing twin syndrome is a very real and emotional occurrence to have to go through.
What is vanishing twin syndrome?
Vanishing twin syndrome was first recognised in 1945. It is when one of the twins passes away in utero without a standard miscarriage occurring. The tissue from the twin is absorbed by the surviving twin and giving an effect of the second baby vanishing. It can be determined at birth when checking the placenta.
With technology coming as far as it has these days, early scans can normally determine if there is more than one baby growing. With follow up scans it can then be found that one of the babies has not survived. And has vanished.
This can be a very traumatic time for all involved. Especially if you have had the early scans and determined that you are having more than one baby. Having twins or triplets is something you need to mentally prepare for. Having that taken away from you once you have accepted it can cause a lot of pain and emotional stress.
What causes vanishing twin syndrome?
The causes of vanishing twin syndrome are not know and there has not been enough evidence in the cases found to determine what the reasons may be. In a lot of cases in the early ultrasounds abnormalities have been found in the baby that ends up vanishing however there is no solid link between the two. Some women will have symptoms during the vanishing which are similar to that of a miscarriage including cramping and pain.
The distressing event can happen at different times of the pregnancy.
If it happens in the first 3 months during the embryo growth time then chances are that the baby will be fully absorbed by the surviving twin. The surviving twin normally shows excellent growth and no repercussions of the event.
If it happens later in the pregnancy the fluid and tissues will be absorbed. However there is also the chance of only the soft tissue being absorbed, leaving remains. There have been no known health risks to the carrying mother of the babies from the effects of vanishing twin syndrome, however the pregnancy may be treated as high risk as a precaution.
There has been little research into why it may occur and if there is a certain group that are more at risk of developing vanishing twin syndrome. In saying that, there have been a few studies that suggest over 30 year old women are a higher risk. However with out any real evidence on why this happens it is hard to tell.
Dealing with the emotions
No matter what stage that the vanishing happens it will have an affect on you as a parent. Do not feel guilty or that you did something wrong. none of this is your fault and you should still be able to grieve properly for your lost child.
There are risks associated with all pregnancies. A lot of the time you can not stop something from happening even if you are sticking to all the ‘rules’.
Cherish your pregnancy and take it one day at a time.