One baby is already a big blessing and a big responsibility. Imagine if you’re having two! But could you be already carrying twins? This article will talk about the early signs that you’re having twins.
We look at twin babies on TV or social media, or even if we pass by them in the mall, and we cannot contain swooning at how adorable they are. It’s double the cuteness and double the excitement of raising two babies instead of one.
However, as parents of twins will later on discover, it’s not always fun having two babies to worry about. For starters, a twin pregnancy is more at risk for complications compared to pregnancies with just one fetus. For this reason, most women carrying twins will have more frequent prenatal visits than women with singletons.
At the same time, over half of twin pregnancies end in preterm delivery (before 37 weeks). Most twin pregnancies are delivered at approximately 36 weeks.
Just a few weeks short of the 40 weeks, which is considered the full gestation period. Twin pregnancies can be delivered vaginally, but there’s a higher risk for one or two babies to be delivered via cesarean section.
However, with good prenatal care, twin pregnancies can still have a full-term delivery and avoid complications.
Early signs you’re having twins
Signs that you’re having twins | Image source: iStock
You wouldn’t know for sure if you’re having twins until your doctor reports hearing two heartbeats and you see two babies on the ultrasound. But there are still some early signs that can reveal if you’re pregnant with twins. Here are some of them:
Your pregnancy symptoms are exaggerated
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who are pregnant with multiple babies may have more severe morning sickness or breast tenderness than women who are pregnant with a single foetus. They may also experience extreme fatigue.
Your characteristics and means of conception make you more likely to have twins
Some history and means of conception can increase your odds of becoming pregnant to twins, such as:
- Use of birth control pills. Hormone fluctuation can affect the release of more than one egg
- You had to undergo fertility treatments to conceive. Hormonal treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) make the frequency of twin pregnancies more common. Due to the ovarian stimulation that may release more than one egg at a time
- Having twins run in the family. If you have a mother or sister who had twins, or you are also a twin, it’s possible that the “twin gene,” runs in your family. According to research, there is a gene that promotes hyperovulation, the tendency to release more than one egg during ovulation. Which increases the chances of conceiving dizygotic (or fraternal) twins.
- Your BMI is high. A previous study showed that a body mass index (BMI) of above 25 is associated with an increased probability of having twins.
- You got pregnant late. According to a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the probability of having a twin pregnancy increases with maternal age.
Your hCG levels are elevated
During your first checkups, your doctor may perform common screenings to check hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels. A hormone that is produced during pregnancy. If your hCG levels are high or accelerated, it can be one of the signs that your having twins.
Image Source: iStock
You feel the foetal movement early
Most women feel the first kicks of their baby about midway through the pregnancy, between 16 and 25 weeks’ gestation. However, moms of multiples reported feeling the foetal movement much early, sometimes as early as the first trimester.
Moreover, if you’re feeling the swishing and the fluttering inside your belly more frequently, it can be that there are more than two sets of tiny hands and feet who are doing the kicking and fluttering.
You are gaining weight more rapidly
Carrying a single baby will have a big impact on a woman’s body, and even more if there are two babies. Not only are moms of multiples likely to gain more weight quickly, but their uterus will also stretch and expand to accommodate the extra baby.
Your doctors monitor your weight gain and fundal height during routine appointments, and excess in either may indicate a twin or multiple pregnancies.
Finally, the last sign to consider is your maternal instinct. If you have been pregnant before, you can tell if what you’re feeling is normal for a single pregnancy or not.
If you’re a new mom, then you may also have dreams or premonitions about having twins, and your theory can have some backing if having twins run in the family.
How to confirm a twin pregnancy
The only way to confirm a twin pregnancy is to undergo an ultrasound. Because of the advancement in technology, your healthcare practitioner can already tell if there are two embryos early in the pregnancy.
Your doctor will also be able to tell from an ultrasound whether you have fraternal or identical twins. But the best way to determine if twins are identical or fraternal is by examining their DNA, since identical twins have the same DNA.
With careful listening, your doctor or midwife can also detect multiple distinct heartbeats and might suspect that there are twins, however, this is not always foolproof, and would still need an ultrasound to confirm if you’re pregnant with twins.
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What precautions to be taken in twin pregnancy
Once you have finally confirmed that you are indeed pregnant with twins, you need to follow your doctor’s guidance to prevent complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm birth. Check with her on how many calories you need to consume to make sure you’re eating enough for your twins.
You may need to undergo additional tests and screenings to make sure both of your babies are developing normally and getting enough nutrition (especially if they are sharing one placenta).
As we mentioned earlier, having twins means double the joy, but also double the responsibility. You need to take care of not just one, but two babies inside your womb. If you have any concerns while you’re pregnant with twins, do not hesitate to consult with your OB-gynaecologist.
Image source: iStock
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore
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