Does your bump look bigger than most other mothers’? Well, it could be the most rudimentary sign of your twin pregnancy! This may be hearsay, but how exactly would you know if you are carrying twins?
An ultrasound is an ideal way to confirm the number of babies. But, you could also look out for signs and symptoms, which would give you a hint before the ultrasound.
MomJunction brings you a list of symptoms and signs of twin pregnancy, and ways to take care of your little munchkins in the womb! So read on!
Before we move on to knowing the signs and symptoms , let us find out how twin pregnancies occur.
What Factors Increase The Chances Of Twin Pregnancy?
Genetics happens to be one important factor for twin pregnancy. A few others are
Fertility treatment methods. In Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) such as IVF, ZIFT, GIFT, multiple embryos are transferred into the uterus that may lead to twins .
- After 30 years of age, a woman’s body produces more FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), which leads to the release of more than one egg from the ovary. This increases the odds of twin pregnancy .
- If you are over the average height with a BMI of 30 or higher, the chances of getting pregnant with twins increase.
- If you are already a mom to twins then there are chances of success again.
- A study by Dr. Gary Steinman, Long Island Jewish Medical Cent, New York, has revealed that non-vegan moms have higher chances of getting pregnant than vegan moms . “The continuing increase in the twinning rate into the 1990s may also be a consequence of the introduction of growth-hormone treatment of cows to enhance their milk and beef production,” says Dr. Steinman.
Interestingly, Nigerian women have more chances of twin pregnancies as they eat a lot of pro-ovulation foods such as sweet potato and yam.
Even if you do not belong to any of the above categories, you might still have a chance to carry twins. So, how would you know if you are pregnant with twins?
Early Signs Of Twin Pregnancy
These early pregnancy signs hint you about your twins.
- Higher hCG levels result in extreme morning sickness during the first two weeks of pregnancy. In some cases, you might experience extreme morning sickness, which is also termed as hyperemesis gravidarum . And, extreme nausea may set in even before missing periods.
- Twin pregnancy translates into fatigue, exhaustion, sleepiness, and lethargy, two to three weeks into pregnancy. As you have to nurture two babies, you need good sleep and sufficient food for your body to work properly.
- When you are carrying two babies, you develop an increased appetite as your body demands more food for the growing babies.
- Twin pregnant belly is obvious as the bump is bigger than normal. Your uterus might expand more than that of the single fetus mothers as it has to accommodate two babies.
- Mood swings become common due to the higher intensity of hormones generated by the body to meet the developmental requirements of your babies. This is easily noticeable from six weeks into pregnancy.
- Pregnancy is detected by the increased level of hCG in the blood or urine. If the level is higher than the normal range, then it is an indication of twin pregnancy. Taking a pregnancy test immediately after missing periods shows a faint line confirming pregnancy. But if you are carrying twins, you will get a dark line.
Besides these, there are more signs and symptoms, which differentiate a twin pregnancy for a normal pregnancy.
More Signs And Symptoms Of Twin Pregnancy
Depending on the early signs, you could decide whether or not you are pregnant with twins. But there are more signs which would help you reach a conclusion better.
- When carrying twins, you may gain weight faster than when carrying a single baby.
- Your doctor regularly checks the fundal height, which is taken from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. This indicates the development age of the fetus. The fundal height is the measure of the weeks you have progressed in pregnancy (7). If the measure is more than one centimeter a week, then it may be a sign of twin pregnancy.
- Fetal movement is early and more frequent in the case of a twin pregnancy.
- Towards the end of the first trimester, the doctors may carry out a test called Doppler heartbeat count to detect the fetal heartbeat. If you are carrying twins, you can hear two hearts beat. However, the Doppler result is less accurate than ultrasound as the multiple heartbeats can be mistaken for a background noise or the mother’s heartbeat (8).
- In twin pregnancy, shortness of breath is an early sign because of the thrust against the diaphragm put by two babies. You must consult your doctor if you feel uncomfortable.
- Cramps are an early sign of twin pregnancy as the uterus enlarges more than normal. As long as there is no bleeding during twin pregnancy cramps, you don’t have to worry, as it is an indication of implantation.
- Preterm labor is common during twin pregnancies and requires immediate medical attention.
- Frequent back pains are a result of excess weight gain, uterus enlargement, and excess hormonal activity. Standing straight and holding your chest high can help you relax. Make sure to wear flats and avoid locking your knees while sitting. Wearing a maternity belt can also help.
- Frequent urination is common during pregnancy. But in case of twin pregnancy the increases because of the pressure exerted by the growing uterus, which is bigger in size, on the bladder. However, do not cut down on the fluid intake because it is necessary to keep your body hydrated.
- Your heart beats faster and the heart rate increases. This is because your bloodstream needs more oxygen for carrying out the extra work of nurturing your twins.
- Your body retains more water in twin pregnancies. To avoid edema, make sure that you drink a lot of water to expel the excess liquid wastes from the body. Watermelons, apples, citrus fruits, peas, and celery act as natural diuretics. Additionally, quit smoking and ensure moderate use of salt in your diet.
- An Alpha-fetoprotein test (APF) is carried out during the second trimester to measure the amount of protein secreted by the fetus’ liver. An abnormal level of APF may indicate twin pregnancy as the amount doubles up