Getting pregnant can be an exciting time for couples and it can be even more exciting if you are expecting twins. However, twin pregnancies can also be very difficult and there may be a lot of tension and worry about having Conjoined or Siamese twins.
What are Conjoined Twins?
Conjoined twins or Siamese twins is a rare phenomenon that happens when identical twins do not split properly after fertilization. Instead of dividing into two separate embryos like in normal identical twins, the two embryos in conjoined twins will remain attached in some areas causing babies to grow into one another and share certain body parts and organs.
Most of time, because they share organs, conjoined twins are unable to survive for more than 24 hours after birth. But five percent of conjoined twins do survive. However, life for conjoined twins in our society is a very sad one. Many are treated as outcasts and forced to join traveling circus to make a living. Fortunately, today however, with the advent of science and medicine, things are beginning to change and conjoined twins have become accepted by society.
Types of Conjoined Twins
There are many different types of conjoined twins and they are classified according to where on their bodies they are attached.
- Craniopagus: Attached at the back of the head. Bodies are separate.
- Rachipagus: Attached at the spine. This is very rare.
- Parapagus: Attached to the pelvis and stomach.
- Pyopagus: Joined at the buttocks. Another rare type of attachment.
- Cepalopagus: Joined at the head and chest
- Ischiopagus: Attached at the front of the pelvis. They share genitals, kidneys, bladder and intestines.
- Omphalopagus: Attached at the abdomen
- Thoracopagus: Common type of attachment when they are attached at the chest.
- Parasitic: Occurs when one twins dies in utero and is absorbed by the other twin. They have extra limbs or heads.
If you want to know about the caring and separation of conjoined twins, click here