It’s been three months since Beyonce and beau Jay Z announced that they’re going to be having twin babies. When the songstress posted the exciting news on her Instagram page, she did not share the expected due date nor how many weeks along she was, but it was clear from the photo, which displays a prominent baby bump, that she hadn’t just found out she was pregnant. That said, it’s normal for women who’ve been pregnant before to show earlier than they did with their first pregnancy, and given that Beyonce’s carrying two little bundles of joy instead of one, she could have been earlier on in the pregnancy when the picture was taken than the size of her belly portrayed.
Multiple sources have suggested that Bey will most likely give birth early this summer. The Sun recently reported that not long after making her pregnancy announcement, a tipster claimed the star to have been 14 weeks along when the Instagram picture was taken. According to International Business Times, so-called experts put her at anywhere from 16 to 20 weeks pregnant based on the same photo.
The truth is, unless a person is medically overseeing Beyonce’s pregnancy and has access to her ultrasounds, it’s impossible to know for sure how far along she is, let alone the day she’s due.
Why Beyonce Could Be Considered High Risk
There are many different factors which contribute to high-risk pregnancies, and there are at least two affecting Mrs. Knowles-Carter’s current pregnancy. The first one is the fact that Beyonce is pregnant with twins, and the second one is that she is 35 years old.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, “each additional baby a woman carries during her pregnancy increases the possibility of developing complications.” These complications include premature birth, intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, preeclampsia, placental abruption, and increased chances for delivery by cesarean section.
Premature birth, also called preterm labor/delivery, is when a woman gives birth prior to completing her 37th week of pregnancy. Each additional fetus a woman carries increases her risk of premature birth.
“On average most single pregnancies last 39 weeks, twin pregnancies 36 weeks, triplets 32 weeks, quadruplets 30 weeks, and quintuplets 29 weeks.”
If Beyonce was pregnant with triplets, she’d have a 90 percent chance of going into preterm labor. With twins, she’s at a 60 percent likelihood to deliver her babies before she hits 37 weeks, which is a time deemed by experts to be the earliest gestational point that giving birth is considered safe.
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is a condition which causes the growth rate of fetus(es) to slow. Sources indicate causes of IUGR to center around the placenta, the organ which resides on the uterine wall during pregnancy and provides the fetus with oxygen and nutrients. The more babies inside the uterus, the faster the placenta wears down, eventually becoming unable to handle the demands of each baby.
Fortunately, IUGR is a rare condition that affects less than 200,000 pregnant women per year, according to Mayo Clinic. The doctor carefully watches for this condition during pregnancy by way of ultrasound.
Preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, is another serious condition that is closely monitored for during pregnancy. Sufficient medical care and making sure to go to all prenatal appointments is the best way to ensure preeclampsia doesn’t become a significant problem.
Cesarean sections are more complicated than vaginal birth. They aren’t always necessary in twin births, but carrying more than one baby does make a c-section more likely. The chances of giving birth vaginally is dependent upon the positioning of the fetuses. The bigger baby needs to be “head down,” meaning the head is pointing towards the birth canal, as well as next to the cervix. The smaller baby can be head down, legs down, or sideways if the bigger baby is positioned in the right places. As long as there are no other complicating factors, these things make a vaginal delivery possible.
Also, keep in mind that the conditions under which the birth of Beyonce’s first child took place depend on how the birth of her twins will turn out.
The other high-risk factor Beyonce is facing lies with her age. Experts have deemed any pregnancy of a woman of the age 35 and older to be high-risk because of the added complications observed more often with women of this age group.
According to Women’s Health, problems associated with those aged 35 and older are difficulty conceiving (which Beyonce obviously doesn’t need to worry about anymore), increased likelihood for baby to sustain genetic defects, higher possibility of labor and delivery complications, and (spoiler alert) more chances to become pregnant with twins or triplets, which we already know comes with its own set of headaches.
Probably the biggest concern for pregnant women age 35 and older is the increased risks of genetic defects such as Down syndrome affecting their child. In 2016 Self Magazine reported that 1 in 2,000 pregnant 20-year-olds will have a baby with Down syndrome. By the age of 35, that number increases to 1 in 350 pregnant women; at 40 it’s one out of every 100, and at 45 the chance goes up to one in 30.
For the women out there who, like Beyonce, have become pregnant at 35 or older, tests exist that can determine if there’s a high possibility you’re carrying a baby with Down syndrome and/or many other genetic disorders. For Down syndrome, there are even tests that can tell you for certain, though these tests require more invasive procedures which pose a miscarry risk for pregnant women over 35.
Beyonce is likely far enough along to know if her twin babies have genetic abnormalities because these kinds of tests are usually done by the time a woman reaches the second trimester of pregnancy (around 12-14 weeks).
Obviously there is no way to know if the potential complications brought forth by these factors have or will become problems for the veteran pop star, as only she, Jay Z, family, friends, and of course her doctor are privy to this information. This just tells us that women who share Beyonce’s pregnancy characteristics are at risk of these conditions. Hopefully she completes her pregnancy without a hitch and gives birth to two healthy babies.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]