For Jasmine, the excitement and joy of pregnancy mixed with concern when she learned that her pregnancy with twin girls was even more complicated than usual.
Jasmine carried monochorionic monoamniotic, or MoMo twins — identical twins sharing the same amniotic sac in the mother’s uterus. While they share a placenta, each twin has its own umbilical cord. This type of pregnancy is very rare, occurring one in every 10,000 pregnancies in the U.S., according to research by the National Institutes of Health.
“Umbilical cord entanglement can lead to the death of one or both of the fetuses,” he says. “As they grow, the babies move a lot and the cords can get tangled. Have you ever walked two dogs on separate leashes? This is very similar.”
In addition to risks in utero, the higher likelihood of a premature delivery carries its own set of risks for babies, due to smaller birth size and the underdevelopment of lungs and other organs. Jasmine’s babies spent five weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns before they went home in August 2015. The level 3 NICU at Sharp Mary Birch is the largest of its kind in the region.
In high-risk pregnancies like Jasmine’s, moms often spend time in the Perinatal Special Care Unit (PSCU) at Sharp Mary Birch in the weeks or months before delivery. Jasmine spent 12 weeks in the PSCU, where she developed a bond with the caregivers and her fellow patients. In the PSCU, families are welcome and patients enjoy a range of special services, including massage, pet therapy and support groups.