Jennifer Ashwood and her husband Andrew, with their twins Poppy and Piran at home
Finding out you’re having twins is always surprise.
But for Jennifer Ashwood, the news came with a twist when doctors discovered she had two wombs – and had become simultaneously pregnant in both.
The odds of the phenomenon are 500million to one, with fewer than a hundred examples ever recorded worldwide, and just a handful in Britain.
Most pregnant women with Mrs Ashwood’s condition, known as a bicornuate uterus, carry one baby on one side. Indeed, Mrs Ashwood, 31, had daughter Millie, now eight, without finding out.
‘I’ve had a baby before and it was really straightforward,’ she said. ‘But my body surprised me this time.
‘We found out at the 20-week scan and ever since people have been saying how rare it was.’
Doctors discovered she had two wombs – and had become simultaneously pregnant in both
Mrs Ashwood gave birth to son Piran, 5lb 10oz, and daughter Poppy, 5lb 3oz, via caesarean
The care worker and her husband Andrew, a fireman, learned they were expecting twins in December.
Then, after doctors discovered an abnormality, they revealed in February that she had two wombs, with one baby in each.
The condition, which developed when Helen was herself in the womb, does not cause extra problems with conception but there is a slightly higher risk of miscarriage or premature birth.
Mrs Ashwood, from Camborne, Cornwall, went into labour at 34 weeks and gave birth to son Piran, 5lb 10oz, and daughter Poppy, 5lb 3oz, via caesarean.
The twins came home in Cornwall after two weeks, following treatment for jaundice
Most pregnant women with Mrs Ashwood’s condition carry one baby on one side
The twins came home after two weeks, following treatment for jaundice.
She said: ‘To have the two [wombs] is rare in itself, but to have an egg in both, then those to be fertilised, and then for both eggs to be in the right part … it’s a bit of a miracle. You think you know your body well, but it turns out you might not.
‘Compared to my first pregnancy I was sick much, much more. Because it’s so rare to carry a baby in each [womb], they didn’t really quite know what was going to happen until they opened me up and took a look.
‘It’s very, very busy at home now,’ she added. ‘We haven’t had much sleep but I don’t think we’d be having much even if we just had one. It’s double the cuddles and double the love.
‘Millie is getting used to things slowly. When we told her it was twins she said she only wanted one, but she’s coming round to the idea now.’