Re: Really good informational show
I watched this show and really enjoyed it, but one part about it really ticked me off. Much of what it had to say about identical twins and how they grow in the womb was dead wrong. I don't want to come across as some crazy message board lady who thinks she knows more than the doctors, but what they had to say about identicals was wrong, and contributes to spreading ignorance.
During the little segment on twins it said that identical twins are able to interact more in the womb because they can touch each other, but fraternal twins don't get the benefit of this interaction because fraternals are in separate sacs. The implication of that statement, of course, is that identicals share a sac. Identicals CAN share a sac, but this only occurs in about 1-2% of identical twin pregnancies. It is a very dangerous situation, and left unmonitored gives the babies about a 50% chance of survival. Clearly, this is not the situation most of us think of when we think of identical twins.
At 19 weeks, we found out our babies share a placenta, and suffer from a disease of the placenta called twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). This can only happen in identical twins who share a placenta. The disease is horrible- often causing the loss of one or both babies who are otherwise perfectly healthy. Anyway, when I tell people our boys are identical, I often get people who argue with me saying things like "There's no way to know if they are identical or fraternal until after they are born." Statements like these ruffle my feathers a bit because my babies could have died from a condition that only occurs in identicals, so I knew just a little bit about what I was talking about.
I'm just so tired of seeing misinformation about twins on TV! I actually watched a birth show about twins the other day, and after the birth they interviewed a male nurse from the nursery. He said that the best way to tell if twins are identical is (get this!) wait until they are abotu 6 months old and see if they look alike! That is just such an outrageous statement!
Even though our babies escaped a terrible fate, I think it's really important for everyone to have the right information. Anyone pregnant with twins should ask right from the begining if the babies share a placenta. This can be determined from ultrasound as early as 7 weeks. If the babies do, the mother needs weekly ultrasounds from about 16 weeks on to make sure the babies are not suddenly lost to TTTS. You can go from healthy pregnancy one week to losing both babies the next. I can think of two couples I "know" from another message board that had this happen to them: Appointment on Monday where dr. says "they may have TTTS- let's check again next week," and then appointment the next Monday saying both babies had passed. It's that serious of a condition that one week is WAY too long to wait.
So that's why I get a little fired up when TV shows (especially ones that look so scientific) are wrong about this stuff. For many couples who have experienced TTTS, having the right information from the begining could have saved one or both of their babies.
I know there aren't a lot of twin mommies on here, but it seems like when you're pregnant you know and talk with a lot of other women who are pregnant, and I think it is so important for twin mommies to be on the lookout for this rare but scary condition.
I really did think the National Geographic show was incredible, btw. Just that one segment was wrong.
Identical boys, Max and Jack born 3/19/05!