What is twin entrapment?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Twin entrapment, also known as locked twins, is a rare and potentially complicated situation that can occur in multiple pregnancies. It specifically refers to a scenario where two fetuses become interlocked or intertwined during presentation before birth. This means that the twins’ bodies or limbs are entangled with each other, making it difficult for them to move independently or for the birthing process to progress normally.

The occurrence of twin entrapment is relatively uncommon, happening in approximately 1 in 1,000 twin deliveries and only 1 in 90,000 deliveries overall. It is more likely to happen in pregnancies involving monozygotic (identical) twins, where the two fetuses share the same placenta and amniotic sac. However, it can also occur in dizygotic (fraternal) twins, who have separate placentas and amniotic sacs.

When twin entrapment occurs, the interlocking of the fetuses can cause complications during delivery. This can include difficulties with the descent of the babies through the birth canal and the potential for fetal distress due to compression of the umbilical cords. In some cases, twin entrapment may even necessitate a cesarean section delivery to ensure the safety of both the mother and the babies.

To diagnose twin entrapment, medical professionals will typically perform an ultrasound examination to assess the position of the fetuses and determine if they are locked together. The specific positioning of the twins can vary, with common examples including the heads of both babies being engaged in the birth canal or one baby’s head being trapped in the other baby’s pelvis.

Managing twin entrapment during delivery requires careful planning and expertise. The healthcare team will assess the situation and determine the safest method of delivery based on factors such as the gestational age of the babies, the position of the entrapment, and the overall health of the mother and the twins. This may involve attempting maneuvers to disentangle the babies or, in more severe cases, opting for a cesarean section.

Personal experiences with twin entrapment can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances. Some individuals may have encountered this complication during their own pregnancies or witnessed it as healthcare professionals. These experiences can evoke a range of emotions, from anxiety and concern for the well-being of the babies to relief and gratitude when a safe delivery is achieved.

Twin entrapment, or locked twins, is a rare complication of multiple pregnancies where two fetuses become interlocked during presentation before birth. It can pose challenges during delivery and may require special interventions to ensure the safety of both the mother and the babies. However, with proper medical care and intervention, successful outcomes can be achieved for both the mother and the twins.