Can You Get Pregnant When You're Already Pregnant?

Pregnancy is often a huge celebration and a milestone for the parents-to-be. But imagine the surprise of finding out that you have conceived again while pregnant.

That's what happened to 39-year-old mom Rebecca Roberts and 43-year-old dad Rhys Weaver, who were surprised with the news three months into their pregnancy, CNN reports. Getting pregnant while already carrying a baby can actually happen, and it's called superfetation — but it is very rare. So rare that a study conducted in 2008 found there were fewer than 10 recorded cases in the world.

How does superfetation work? Typically, you stop ovulating while pregnant. When superfetation occurs, though, another ovulation happens and the egg is fertilized. Superfetation can also happen when a woman has a double uterus (via Women's Health). 

This differs from conceiving fraternal twins, where two eggs are released at the same time, and identical twins, which is when a freshly fertilized egg splits, according to CNN. In the case of superfetations, experts tell CNN the second embryo "must have managed to implant and grow at a stage when we would not have thought it would be able to grow."

Are babies born in such a double pregnancy the same age?

Since superfetation is so rare, there isn't a lot of data available to study why exactly multiple ovulations happen. There is also not a lot of definitive information about how close in gestational age the fetuses would be, according to Healthline. In many cases, they would likely be close in gestational age, making it possibly difficult to tell the difference between a double pregnancy and twins until birth.

In Rebecca and Rhys' situation, doctors said the babies were conceived about three weeks apart. Their babies, Noah and Rosalie, were born by Cesearean in September 2020 and are both doing well, according to CNN.

Although it is jaw-dropping, it is true — you can get pregnant again when you're already pregnant. However, it is very rare, happening once in an estimated few million pregnancies. So odds are that there is no reason to fret about conceiving again while pregnant.