No, there’s nothing in the water, although medical staff at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Division, will joke that there is, because the hospital has delivered 12 sets of twins so far this year.
Eight sets alone arrived between March 17 and March 23.
According to a study published in an Oxford Academic Journal of Human Reproduction, more twins are being born than at any other time in history.
Jennifer Tioseco, medical director for AtlantiCare’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, said there are many reasons for the spike. Tioseco is also the director of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Newborn Care Network, which includes CHOP Newborn Care at AtlantiCare.
“Moms are delaying childbirth for whatever reason,” she said. “And, of course, in the pandemic, a lot of people have lost their jobs or their life situation has changed and they have to figure out new arrangements, so a lot of women were delaying having children.”
As a woman ages, she has an increased chance of releasing more than one egg, which increases the risk for multiples, Tioseco said.
“That doesn’t happen all the time, but it could happen,” she said.
More women are also seeking out fertility treatment which, with the help of medication, can also increase the chance of multiples.
With fertility treatment, like in-vitro fertilization, physicians no longer transfer multiple embryos into the uterus due to high-risk complications that could arise during the pregnancy.
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“(Multiples) are a blessing,” she said. “However, they put the mom in a very high-risk category. But that embryo that is implanted could also split.”
A pregnancy with multiples, such as twins, is considered a high-risk pregnancy, Tioseco said. Risks include delivering prematurely and one twin developing more than the other, resulting in one twin delivering smaller and malnourished. Another risk is the umbilical cord can get tangled resulting in suffocation.
Identical twins Anthony and Enzo Perfetti were born March 20, one day shy of 34 weeks.
Their parents, Brittani and Anthony Perfetti, both 35, of Ventnor, are very familiar with twins. Anthony has two sets of twins in his family. His his older brothers are twins; his father is a twin. Brittani’s uncles are also twins.
But when the two decided to grow their family, it never crossed Brittani’s mind that twins could happen in her own little family.
“I was shocked. I was surprised,” she said about finding out she was having two.
The couple also has a 2-year-old son, Luca.
The most rewarding part is simply experiencing being the mother of twins, she said.
“My pregnancy was pretty special just knowing there were two in there,” she said. “I was feeling them kicking, and there were points where I could decipher which (one was kicking), especially towards the end. That was just a special experience that I know not everyone gets to have.”
But, as anyone could guess, caring for twins — newborn twins — also has its challenges.
“You put a matching outfit on them and you’re so excited for their outfits to match and then one of them pees through in a second,” she said. “The diaper changes, the outfit changes, the feedings ... my hands are definitely full. It happens all at once.
“But to look down at both of them and see two of the same faces it really is the most special thing,” she added. “During the long nights, I’m trying to remind myself of that, that this is a really cool experience and not everyone has that and that I’m grateful for it.”
Being pregnant with twins, Brittani also went through AtlantiCare’s Maternal Fetal Medicine program, which provides an extra layer of care for both baby and mother during high-risk pregnancies.
“The fact that Maternal Fetal Medicine did the frequent ultrasounds, and towards the end I had stress tests done, it made the whole process a lot less stressful,” she said. “I was able to just check in on them (more frequently) besides just the kicking and the normal things you’re supposed to check while you’re pregnant. That was just a reassurance during my pregnancy.”
For Tioseco, who is a mother of 13-year-old twins herself, and the staff at AtlantiCare, having a dozen sets of twins born was exciting.
“We all were like, ‘What is going on here? There must be something in the water,’” she said with a laugh. “I don’t think there was any explanation, but it literally was one after the other.”
“It felt like it was a factory,” she joked. “It was cute. We were really excited about it.”
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