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5 Classic Early Symptoms You Might Be Pregnant With Twins

by Vannessa Rhoades 05 Oct 2023
5 Classic Early Symptoms You Might Be Pregnant With Twins

With the increasing occurrence of twin pregnancies, the likelihood of expecting multiple babies has become more prevalent. Twin pregnancies can frequently be spotted during the initial prenatal visit. Some parents-to-be might even have an inkling about the arrival of twins from dreams, comments, or intuition. Various symptoms can act as indicators of a twin pregnancy, although only medical professionals can provide a definitive diagnosis and confirmation. Until then, the possibility of a twin pregnancy remains. While every pregnancy is unique, let’s take a look at five common early symptoms that you’re expecting twins.

1. Being At a Higher Risk

While twin pregnancies can occur by chance, specific factors can contribute to the likelihood of a person having twins or multiples:

  • Family history: Possessing the "twin gene" can make a woman more prone to fraternal twin births, where multiple eggs are released at once. Genetic connections might also contribute to identical twin occurrences due to embryo division.
  • Conception during breastfeeding or while on birth control pills: Hormonal fluctuations during these periods can influence the chances of having twins.
  • Fertility treatments: The rise of hormonal treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) has led to an increase in twin births. Ovarian stimulation from these treatments can result in the release of more than one egg.
  • Maternal age: The probability of a twin pregnancy rises as maternal age increases.
  • Higher body mass index (BMI): Having a BMI above 25 has been associated with an elevated likelihood of having twins.

It's important to note that many instances of twins are random and cannot be attributed to specific causes or characteristics. For numerous families, the gift of twins is simply a twist of fate!

5 Classic Early Symptoms You Might Be Pregnant With Twins

2. More Extreme Symptoms

Pregnancy symptoms vary greatly, from morning sickness and cravings to fatigue and frequent urination, all commonly encountered by expectant mothers. It's logical that having twin babies can intensify these symptoms. Some women carrying multiples have reported heightened experiences of nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, and food cravings. This tendency is more noticeable in women with previous pregnancy experiences, giving them a basis for comparison.

3. Higher Hormone Levels

Another of the early signs you’re expecting twins is higher than expected hormone levels. During the early stages of pregnancy, healthcare providers often conduct routine screenings to assess the levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone produced during pregnancy. Elevated or rapidly increasing hCG levels might suggest the possibility of a multiple pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, there's a later screening called AFP (Alphafetoprotein), which aims to detect the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities or birth defects. This screening is sometimes referred to as maternal serum screening, triple screen, quad screen, or penta screen, depending on the number of factors being evaluated. Depending on the screening outcomes, healthcare professionals might recommend additional tests. An unusually high result could be attributed to the presence of multiple babies, such as twins.

5 Classic Early Symptoms You Might Be Pregnant With Twins

4. Growing Bigger, Faster

Undoubtedly, the presence of two babies significantly influences a woman's body during pregnancy. Besides an increased likelihood of weight gain, another one of the signs you’re expecting twins may be the expansion and stretching of the uterus to accommodate the additional baby. During regular check-ups, healthcare providers typically monitor weight gain and fundal height (measured from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus). An excess in either measurement could suggest a multiple pregnancy, although various factors, such as elevated levels of amniotic fluid, could also contribute. In cases where a healthcare professional has grounds to suspect multiples, they will delve deeper into the investigation.

5. Feeling Movement Sooner

One of the most exhilarating pregnancy moments is experiencing your baby's movements inside your womb. That fluttery, swishing, and quivery sensation from the depths of your abdomen establishes a profound connection with your unborn child, firmly bonding mother and baby. Some women liken it to the flutter of butterflies or the graceful movement of a swimming fish. This feeling, known as quickening, typically emerges around the midpoint of pregnancy, between 16 and 25 weeks of gestation.

Do you experience symptoms sooner if you’re expecting twins? When it comes to feeling your babies move, some moms say yes! While scientific evidence is limited, some mothers of twins share that they sense movement earlier and more frequently during their pregnancy, occasionally as soon as the first trimester. This early perception might serve as their initial indication that more than just two tiny hands and feet are in motion within the womb. Women with prior pregnancy experience often identify fetal movement sooner. Their familiarity with the sensation and ability to draw comparisons lead them to deduce that there's something different happening.

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How to Confirm There Are Multiple Babies

Modern medical technology has greatly improved the accuracy of diagnosing twin pregnancies compared to previous decades. There are two primary methods to confirm the presence of twins.

Seeing multiple babies via ultrasound 

Ultrasound employs sound waves to generate images of the womb. By emitting high-frequency sound waves into the body, a transducer captures the resulting electrical signals produced as the waves bounce off organs and structures, creating images. This imaging technique can clearly depict the existence of two fetuses, or even two embryos in the early stages of pregnancy. In the past, ultrasound scans might have missed a twin pregnancy if two embryos were closely positioned, with one obscuring the other. However, advancements in imaging clarity and precision, along with more frequent use of ultrasounds during pregnancy, have reduced the likelihood of twins going unnoticed.

Hearing multiple heartbeats

Various tools, such as a stethoscope, fetoscope, or Doppler monitor, can be employed to listen for fetal heartbeats during pregnancy. Through careful listening, a doctor or midwife might identify multiple distinct heartbeats, raising the suspicion of a twin pregnancy. In such cases, an ultrasound scan can provide definitive confirmation. Nevertheless, listening for heartbeats can be challenging and isn't entirely foolproof. Distinguishing individual heartbeats can prove difficult, particularly if they beat at a similar pace. Additionally, the sound of the mother's own heartbeat can potentially muddle the results.

5 Classic Early Symptoms You Might Be Pregnant With Twins

The Takeaway

If you're strongly suspecting a twin pregnancy and that feeling persists, make sure to discuss it with your doctor or midwife. In the end, no matter your symptoms, an ultrasound can confirm whether your intuition is accurate. If it turns out you're correct, you'll receive the necessary medical care for a multiple pregnancy. On the other hand, if your intuition proves incorrect, you can fully relish your singleton pregnancy without any lingering doubts.

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