Is it true that you can get pregnant when you are pregnant?

Is it true that you can get pregnant when you are pregnant?

As strange as it may seem, the answer is: yes. But know that cases are rare and difficult to diagnose!

The infinite possibilities of what can happen during a pregnancy leads to questions that may initially seem disconnected like the title question. But when you see them in practice, the story changes course. This is what happened to British mother Rebecca Roberts, 39, who brought up the discussion about the phenomenon known as superfetation.

According to the Daily Mail UK, Rebecca had a surprise during Noah’s pregnancy. After performing two ultrasounds that showed that everything was fine with the baby, the doctors found that another baby had formed in the mother’s womb. “I didn’t even know it was possible to get pregnant again during a pregnancy,” said the mother.

The new baby formed was a girl, who was named Rosalie. She and her brother came to the world through a cesarean section in September 2020, in the 33rd week of pregnancy, due to a problem with the baby’s umbilical cord. Noah was born with almost two kilos, his sister already with less than one. This made her need to spend a long period in the Neonatal ICU.

Because they came into the world at the same time, they are considered twins. However, the medical suspicion is that the babies were not conceived at the same time, exemplifying a case of superfetation.

What is superfetation?

“Superfetation is when, during the course of a pregnancy, a second ovulation takes place and it is fertilized”, explains Fernanda Pepicelli, gynecologist and obstetrician by the Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Associations (Febrasgo). The specialist also reinforces that cases of this type are extremely rare, since the female organism has a mechanism after the first fertilization so that another does not occur.

The exception is so big that Gilberto Nagahama, a gynecologist and obstetrician at the Center for Studies and Research Dr. João Amorim (CEJAM), points out that there is a doubt in the medical community as to how much it is possible to have super-focus in humans – it is already most common in animals. It is estimated that the medical literature presents around 15 cases registered worldwide.

Why do these cases happen?

Due to the rarity of the situation, Nagahama emphasizes that we still do not know all the reasons that can lead to overeating. But the most suitable is the relationship with treatments made for female infertility.

“This means that there is an atypical increase in the levels of the hormone estradiol in the luteal phase (the last stage of the menstrual cycle), which starts after ovulation and can last from one to three weeks. This increase can stimulate the recruitment of new follicles and, as a consequence, a new fertilization occurs ”, details Fernanda.

And how is superfetation diagnosed?

Even during pregnancy, the CEJAM obstetrician clarifies that it is complex to state that the situation that the mother is experiencing is over-face. This is because the period of difference between the fertilization of the fetuses tends to be less than a month, which makes doctors interpret that it is just a twin pregnancy.

On the other hand, there are some alternatives for the possible diagnosis. The first is the ultrasound, which shows a significant difference in size and gestational ages among embryos, as was the case with the British. The second, on the other hand, is related to the babies’ genetic characteristics, when they suspect that they are from different parents.

“In this case, the genetic materials would be different, confirming that they are from different parents. In addition to the mother’s report, confirming sexual relations at different times ”, concludes Nagahama.

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