Women Expecting 12 In High Risk Pregnancy

Jenny Decker RN's picture

At 16 weeks, a Tunisian woman is pregnant with 12 babies, 6 boys and 6 girls. The mother and the father are determined to deliver the babies naturally. Doctors have warned that with this determination, huge risks may cause the death of all 12.

The pregnant woman and father of the 12 are delighted. After several miscarriages, the couple turned to fertility treatment in order to conceive. Physicians are wary of the risks associated with carrying multiples. Even carrying twins has risks. The health issues when pregnant with many are for both mother and the babies.


Babies are born early. With 12 babies, physicians warn that all of them may die. With this many babies, labor is expected to start at around 20 weeks. This is only half way for a normal pregnancy. Babies have not had the chance to develop fully, especially the lungs and often end up in newborn intensive care units for months. The babies will most likely be unable to reach critical stages of development. Unfortunately, babies who are born before week 25 only have about a 50% chance of survival. The size of the baby is very important here. Those who are three pounds and more stand a better chance of survival.

For the mother, the health issues when pregnant with many can be numerous as well. Preterm labor is very common and with 12 babies, the mother is most likely to deliver at around 20 weeks. Although the mother of the 12 babies says she feels fine, all mothers are warned that any pregnancy can become high risk. Even with a high risk pregnancy, a mother may feel fine, but she or the babies can be in danger. By nature of carrying more than one baby, the mother is already high risk. A mother with many babies may become malnourished and unable to fully nourish her children. She may be anemic and may be at risk for preeclampsia. Women who are pregnant with many may also find that other health conditions can become exacerbated. Delivering naturally may not be possible when pregnant with 12 babies.

In 1996, a 23 year old Greek Cypriot woman became pregnant with 11 babies. Nine had to be aborted to save the lives of two of the babies. Recently, Nadya Suleman gave birth to 8 babies by cesarean section. The octomom was unemployed and single. Having conceived 14 of her babies by in vitro fertilization, many became uneasy with the whole situation. Her babies are the longest-surviving octuplets.

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