What are the risks of quadruplet births as Gemma goes into labour in Corrie?

Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) is about to welcome the patter of four pairs of tiny feet in Coronation Street after she goes into labour with her quads.

In scenes to be aired on Wednesday night the character’s in danger of bringing her brood into the world in midair when her contractions become stronger while she and Chesney (Sam Aston) are in a cable car.

Of course we have no idea how things will pan out – we’ll just have to watch it to find out – but we do know that Gemma’s got some challenges ahead with becoming a parent four times over.

While it’s not unheard of to have quads, it’s also fairly unlikely – with a one in 800,000 chance of a pregnancy producing quads – and of course having four babies in one go isn’t without risks.

But what are the potential risks of such a large multiple birth?

Here’s what you need to know…

What are the risks of quadruplet births?

Like most multiple births, having four babies as once does not come without potential complications.

Among those which can occur are:

Miscarriage. The risk of this is higher in pregnant woman who are expecting more than one baby

Pregnancy complications, such as anaemia, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. The risk of placental abruption (the placenta detaching itself early) is also higher.

Premature labour and birth. Nearly all multiples higher than twins are born before 37 weeks, with triplets having a 94 per cent chance of being born prematurely – meaning the risk is also there for quads.

Low birth weight as a result of being born prematurely.

Intrauterine growth restriction, which sees babies’ growth slowing down earlier than in pregnancy with a single baby. Quadruplet growth begins slowing down at around 25 to 26 weeks

Babies born in multiple births are also at higher risk of birth defects such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other neural tube defects, as well as being at higher risk of problems with the heart and digestive tracts.

While most multiple pregnancies are healthy and result in healthy babies, all of the above can occur – so if you’re pregnant with two or more babies be sure not to miss any of your antenatal appointments, so that any problems can be identified early and treated if need be.

For more information visit the NHS website’s page on multiple births.

How many quadruplets are there in the world?

With the chances of producing four babies at once so low, Gemma and Chesney are set to enter into a pretty elite club of quadruplet parents.

As of 2007 there were approximately 3,500 sets of quads worldwide – of which only around 70 are all-identical quadpulets.

Many sets of quadruplets contain identical and fraternal sibllings in some combination.

Although rare, quadruplets are becoming more common due to fertility treatments which can often result in multiple pregnancies.

Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV at 7.30pm.

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