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Mothers of Multiples

  • By: Sherryll Sobie
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Multiples is a general term used to describe offspring carried during, and born from, the same pregnancy. The most commonly known multiples are twins (two), but there are also triplets (three), quadruplets (four), quintuplets (five), and more, all of which are referred to as higher-order multiples. Generally, a multiple pregnancy and the subsequent rearing of multiples is considered an intense experience, not just for a mother's body, but for her mind and spirit as well. Multiples fall into two categories: dizygotic (fraternal) and monozygotic (identical). Dizygotics develop separately from two or more zygotes (fertilized eggs). Monozygotics share the same DNA as they develop from one zygote that splits into two or more embryos. Twins are either monozygotic or dizygotic. Higher-order multiples may be all monozygotic, ...

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