NRL News

Backlash convinces SF Globe to rethink its unfortunate characterization of prenatal twins’ behavior

by | Feb 12, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

twins32Tip of the hat to Carole Novielli, who posted about this on her blog.

You can make both too much and too little over the odd and poorly chosen headline on a story that ran in the San Francisco Globe. But I do believe it is worth pondering.

We’re told Dr. Marisa Taylor-Clarke was using a new technology, called cine-MRI scan, as part of a London medical study of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. We’ve written several times about TTTS which the Globe described accurately as “when twins share a placenta that contains abnormal blood vessels which can cause one twin to get less nutrients than the other. This can result in one twin not growing normally or even death for the malnourished twin.”

But the headline writer who composed “Doctor X-Rayed her pregnant belly. What they saw Inside was a bit upsetting” shouldn’t get all the blame. The story’s writer (unnamed) talks of Dr. Taylor-Clarke as having “caught these twin babies fighting for space in the womb.” Later the writer talks about the babies “pushing.”

The headline and the story generated an immediate backlash–160 responses as of this morning–almost entirely negative. In response, the Globe changed the headline to “Twin Babies Interact In The Womb.”

Here are a couple of representative responses (we’ll ignore the foul-mouthed idiot who couldn’t stand having them described as babies).

· *I have 5 children – 3 single births and a set of twins, and I can tell you they all moved the same (kicking, punching, rolling around, etc.) They’re not hitting or kicking each other – they’re just moving about like normal babies … it’s just that with twins they don’t have as much room to move. I see nothing “upsetting” about this, and I think people are trying too hard to see something that isn’t there.

· *I agree. I had three singles and then twins too. They all moved like that. I don’t see any aggression in this video, just babies being babies.

· *I have a set of identical twins (first a daughter) and I also agree with LH. Beth Israel Hospital called my twins the “obnoxious twins” monitoring them every week until nearly 39 weeks of pregnancy because they moved around so much. They are healthy! Don’t make issues where there aren’t any.

As I said at the beginning, on the one hand you don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but on the other hand you don’t want ordinary behavior by twins turned into something that sounds like prenatal assault and battery.

Substance of the article and headline aside, do watch the video.

The twin on the left seems to be yammering at his/her sibling. It is hysterically funny.

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Categories: Unborn Children