Seeing even the faintest line on a pregnancy test can turn any expecting mother’s frown upside down and while a simple HCG detecting pregnancy test will not give any answers of whether there is only one baby baking away inside, there are a number of researched factors and some wive tales that may hint you are expecting twins.. or even multiples.In this article we’ll delve deeper into signs and symptoms that many expectant mothers of twins have experienced during early pregnancy.
In the US, Twins or Multiples Account for 3 out of Every 100 Pregnancies.
- 1 What increases a Woman’s Likelihood of Conceiving Twins?
- 2 8 Early Signs that You are Having Twins (or Multiples)
- 3 How Can I Confirm if I am Carrying Multiples?
- 4 What is the Difference Between Fraternal and Identical Twins?
- 5 When Can I Find Out the Gender of my Twins?
- 6 Signs and Symptoms that Expectant Twin Mothers have Had
- 7 How Can a Twin Pregnancy Affect the Health of my Babies?
- 8 What is a Hidden Twin? What is a Disappearing Twin?
- 9 Planning for Twins
What increases a Woman’s Likelihood of Conceiving Twins?
If you are hoping that you have conceived twins or you are curious to see what will increase your likelihood, there are a number of genetic and lifestyle factors that may see you give birth to two babies rather than one.
- Twins are More Likely Conceived by Mothers Who are in their 30’s or 40’s.
After the age of 30 a woman’s body produces more of the follicle stimulating hormone which increases the chance of more than one egg being released from the ovaries.
- Family History Can Increase Your Chance of Conceiving Twins.
If you have fraternal twins, often referred to as non-identical twins within your family your chance of conceiving twins of your own are twice as high. There is no relationship between identical twins and family history.
- Woman with a BMI Over 30 are more Likely to Conceive Twins.
While being overweight can make it difficult to fall pregnant, ironically for those who do, the chance of conceiving twins is much higher. If you have additional fat in your body, you generally produce more estrogen which can overstimulate the ovaries causing them to release more than one egg per cycle.
- If You are an African American You have the Highest Chance of Conceiving Twins.
Your race has some impact on your chance of conceiving twins. Woman who are African American have the highest rate of twins while those who are from Asia are least likely to conceive twins.
- Those on Fertility Treatment are More Likely to Fall Pregnant with Twins.
Woman who have been taking fertility treatments are more likely to fall pregnant with twins when compared to those who are not on fertility treatments.
8 Early Signs that You are Having Twins (or Multiples)
Symptom #1 Elevated Levels of HCG
While not true for all expectant twin mothers, elevated levels of HCG in early pregnancy can be a sign that you are carrying twins. If you have had a blood test and your HCG levels are on the higher end of the spectrum while it may be a sign of twins, do not get your hopes up. Some mothers who have reported they had high HCG levels in early pregnancy went on to find out they were only carrying a single baby.
Symptom #2 Worsened Morning Sickness and Fatigue
Severe morning sickness and extreme fatigue can suggest multiples although morning sickness and fatigue are common during all early pregnancies. It is suggested a link between a mothers body supplying for two rather than one baby can make her feel even more exhausted compared to a single pregnancy. More than 50% of twin moms-to-be experience morning sickness in the first trimester.
Symptom #3 Early Weight Gain and a Larger ‘Bump’
Those who tend to be carrying larger for their gestational age are more likely to have two or more buns in the oven. Woman who are carrying multiples on average will gain an extra 10 pounds over the course of their pregnancy in comparison to those who are carrying a single baby. While a larger bump can point towards a twin pregnancy, it can also be larger due to miscalculated dates. You might also find if you are expecting twins, you have a larger appetite as your body attempts to supply two tiny humans with nourishment opposed to one.
Symptom #4 Extreme Breast Tenderness
Breast tenderness is common in all pregnancy due to the change in hormones although those woman pregnant with twins often note their more noticeably painful breasts in early pregnancy.
Symptom #5 Frequent Urination
If you find that you are making constant trips to the bathroom not long after finding out you are expecting, you may be pregnant with twins. Due to a growing uterus to make room for two babies rather than one, extra pressure can be placed on the bladder.
Symptom #6 Greater Mood Swings
Due to the large amount of hormones circulating your body in a twin pregnancy, you may be more likely to have greater mood swings compared to someone pregnant with a single baby.
Symptom #7 Spotting
While some spotting is normal in all pregnancies around the time the woman’s period would normally be due, in twin pregnancies spotting is seen more often. Spotting can be alarming for moms to be, although if it is only a spot here and there, generally everything is fine. Spotting and cramping at the same time can be more of a warning sign and a reason to make an appointment as soon as possible at the GP.
Symptom #8 Intuition
Many woman who have found out they are carrying multiples at a routine ultrasound have spoken about their intuition. If you have a sick feeling that you are carrying more than one, your gut instinct may or may not be correct. Some woman just ‘know’ they are carrying multiples prior to having ultrasound confirmation.
How Can I Confirm if I am Carrying Multiples?
While you may have had an inkling from a couple of weeks pregnant that you are carrying more than one, the only way twins or triplets can be confirmed is with an ultrasound which a doctor generally does not advise until 6-8 weeks to avoid disappointment.
While a scan may be performed at 6 weeks to check the viability of a pregnancy, sometimes twins are overlooked until a dating scan is performed between 10 and 13 weeks pregnant. While twins can be easily detected at 10 to 13 weeks, triplets can be missed. This is one because the body parts can be confused and also because triplets are much rarer than twins.
If a twin is detected at 6 weeks although has vanished by your 12 week scan, while heartbreaking for many woman it is actually more common to loose a twin than some may have originally thought.
In the US, Triplets only account for 1 out 1000 pregnancies.
What is the Difference Between Fraternal and Identical Twins?
If you’ve found out you are carrying twins, you may now be wondering if they will be identical or not. Whether or not your twins are identical ultimately depends on whether two eggs were released and fertilized or if one egg was released and split after fertilization.
Fraternal twins are the result of two separate eggs being released from the ovaries and each egg being fertilized by two separate sperms. Each of these babies will have separate umbilical cords that lead to two separate placentas. Fraternal twins can be both boys, both girls or one of each.
Identical twins on the other-hand are the result of one egg being released, fertilized by the sperm and then splitting shortly after. Identical twins are much rarer than fraternal twins, and identical triplets almost unheard of are rarer than one in a million. Depending on whether the egg splits prior to implanting in the womb decides whether or not the babies will share a placenta or have one of their own.
In the US, Identical Twins Pregnancies Occur in 1 Out of Every 250 Pregnancies.
When Can I Find Out the Gender of my Twins?
While you may have been told at your 12 week scan that you are expecting twins, either fraternal or identical it is generally not until 18+ weeks that an ultrasound technician will be confident enough to reveal the gender/s. If you are told early on you are expecting identical twins, this means that both will be boys or both with be girls. Fraternal twins on the other hand can be both boys, both girls or a boy and a girl.
If you have active twins, it may even be too hard to tell at a 18 week scan the gender of each baby and this may lead you to have a surprise birth. While some eager parents wish to find out prior to the birth of their babies, others prefer to have the delivery room surprise.
Signs and Symptoms that Expectant Twin Mothers have Had
“When I was pregnant with my twins I felt that my stomach was larger soon, I had more nausea compared to my previous two single pregnancies, my HCG levels were elevated and I had the gut feeling that many other woman speak of.”
“I had a dream that I was having girl/boy twins way before I got pregnant. When i did get pregnant i knew it was twins and yes the scan showed twins.”
“I had no symptoms that I was carrying twins other than the fact that I took a pregnancy test a couple of days prior to my missed period being due and a dark positive test was the result.”
How Can a Twin Pregnancy Affect the Health of my Babies?
While many expectant moms cross their fingers in the hopes of finding out more than one baby is baking away, twin pregnancies can have their downfalls.
For starters, twin or multiple pregnancies have a high rate of premature birth and while the modern technology available today is able to ensure all babies of 26 weeks gestational and above have a high rate of making it home, it does mean twins have more chance of suffering in the long run if born prematurely.
Often twins, especially those born prematurely will have significantly lower birth weights compared to those born from singular pregnancies. If a baby is born in the extremely low weight range, they may suffer long term illnesses.
While twin pregnancies are blessings, it is important to know the risks and make regular visits to the doctors to ensure the pregnancy is on track.
What is a Hidden Twin? What is a Disappearing Twin?
If you’ve heard of another mom mention the term ‘hidden twin’ or ‘disappearing twin’ you may have began to question what they are talking about. While a hidden twin can come as a happy surprise to many moms, a disappearing twin can be quite devastating especially if the twin pregnancy had progressed.
A hidden twin is a term used when a twin pregnancy goes undiscovered after some time even after routine ultrasounds. The hidden twin is generally sitting directly behind the other baby and therefor is hard to identify in early stages of pregnancy. A hidden twin is generally discovered in the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy when two heart beats or two sacs can be easily identified. A hidden twin is more common in mono-chorionic pregnancies where the two babies share the same sac.
On the other hand a vanishing twin is where two yolk sacks or even two heart beats are detected on an early pregnancy scan but unfortunately one sack has vanished by the second scan. Mothers who have had a vanishing twin will have mixed emotions and it is normal to feel down. A vanishing twin may be reabsorbed by the body if it is in the early stages of pregnancy or if it has progressed further, bleeding may be the result.
Planning for Twins
If you have recently found out you are pregnant, it’s a good idea to wait a couple of weeks prior to rushing out and purchasing any items. Pregnancies can be fragile and in particular carrying multiples. The twelve week mark is when many mothers head out to make some layby’s or purchases. Purchasing for two can be costly, so laybying early allows the parents time to pay off two of everything. While two of everything is often thought to be needed, you may opt for two different interactive toys that you can switch your twins between for play times.
Baby Momma’s Double Trouble Picks:
Bugaboo Donkey 2: Twin
If you’re having twins, a side by side pram allows them to be as close as can be when you are out and about. While sometimes moms-to-be are iffy about a side-by-side due to the width, Bugaboo seem to have this handled by ensuring the bassinets are spacious enough for each baby, but not to wide that the pram still fits through entries and exits.
While Bugaboo prams are initially expensive, they grow with your baby into toddler-hood where you can upgrade from bassinets to seats that again can sit side by side. If you are choosing to use capsules in place of car seats, adapters can be purchased so that you can use the capsule on the pram instead of the regular bassinets if it makes life easier. The Bugaboo is my first pick for twins as it gives you the added underneath storage, comes with a three year warranty and looks stylish.
Halo Bassinet: Twin Sleeper
If you are expecting twins, you’ll need two bassinets, or you could buy one that sleeps two. The Halo company originally designed a 360 degree swivel bassinet and have more recently designed a Halo bassinet fit for twins. A mesh divide down the middle prevents and SIDS risks while still allowing the twins to see each other. The Halo bassinet allows your twins to be visible to you at eye level and has sound options if your twins need comforting to go to sleep.