With the conception of multiple pregnancies on the increase, your chances of having twins is more common than ever. Twin pregnancies are quite detectable at your first ante-natal appointment. However, it’s possible you were prompted by a dream, passing comment or a premonition.
There are several signs that could serve as helpful clues to let let you know you are having twins.
It’s not possible to know for sure, whether you are carrying multiple babies by simply gauging how you feel. In fact, only an ultrasound can confirm a twin or multiple pregnancy. But until confirmed otherwise, there’s always the potential for a twin pregnancy. That said, it can be exciting to wonder whether certain signs are subtle clues that you or a loved one may be carrying more than one baby. Although each pregnancy is different, let’s take a closer look at these potential hints at multiple babies.
Exaggerated Pregnancy Symptoms
Pregnancy comes with many symptoms. Morning sickness, food cravings, fatigue, frequent urination are all commonly experienced by pregnant women. So it might not come as a surprise that the presence of two babies exacerbates these symptoms. Some pregnant moms of twins report intense symptoms of nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, food cravings, etc. It’s more common in women who have experienced a previous pregnancy and thus have a basis for comparison.
A History That Increases The Odds
While sometimes a twin pregnancy just “happens,” there are some situations that increase the odds that of a woman having twins or multiples. They are: fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF); increased maternal age; family history; high Body Mass Index; and conception while breastfeeding or taking birth control.
However, several incidences of twin births are random and not attributable to any specific cause or characteristic. For many families, their double blessing is simply a result of luck!
Elevated hCG Or AFP Levels
Early in pregnancy, doctors perform common screenings to check hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels. hCG is a hormone produced during pregnancy. If the levels are high or accelerated, it may indicate a multiple pregnancy.
An AFP (Alphafetoprotein) screening occurs later in pregnancy and tests for the proclivity of abnormalities or birth defects. This testing is also known as maternal serum screening, triple screen, quad screen or penta screen. Based on the screening result, doctors may recommend further testing. An abnormally high result could be caused by the presence of multiple babies such as twins.
Early Fetal Movement
One very exciting moment in pregnancy is feeling your baby move within you. That fluttery, swishing, quivery feeling from deep within your belly connects you to your unborn child, cementing the bond between mother and baby. Some women describe it as butterflies or a swimming fish. Usually, women can feel this sensation, known as quickening, about midway through the pregnancy, between 16 and 25 weeks’ gestation. Although there’s not much science to support it, some moms of twins report feeling movement earlier and more frequently in pregnancy, sometimes as early as the first trimester. It might even be their first clue that there are more than just two tiny hands and two tiny feet waving around in the womb.
Gaining Weight Rapidly
There’s no doubt that carrying two babies has a huge impact on a woman’s body. Not only are moms of twins likely to gain more weight, their uterus will also stretch and expand to accommodate the extra baby.
You Have A Sneaking Suspicion
Start noticing any potential signs and tapping into your early maternal instincts. Dreams, premonitions, intuition, hunches. Many moms of twins look back in hindsight and realize they encountered some signs shortly before they found out they were pregnant with more than one baby.
Confirming A Twin Pregnancy
Current medical technology makes a diagnosis of twins much more accessible than in the past century. Two ways to confirm a twin pregnancy are through ultrasound and fetal Doppler monitor.
There are several tools that can be used to listen for a fetal heartbeat during pregnancy, including a stethoscope or Doppler monitor. With careful listening, a doctor can sometimes detect multiple distinct heartbeats and might suspect that there are twins. If so, an ultrasound scan can provide confirmation. However, listening for heartbeats can be tricky and certainly not foolproof. It can be difficult to distinguish individual heartbeats, especially if they beat at about the same pace. And, the sound of mom’s heart can muddle the results.
Trust your intuition. If you have a feeling that you might be having twins—a strong suspicion that just won’t pass—be sure to mention it to your doctor. Ultimately, whatever your signs or symptoms, an ultrasound can tell if you’re right and you’ll then receive the medical attention appropriate for a multiple pregnancy. And, if you’re wrong, you’ll be able to enjoy your singleton pregnancy with peace of mind.
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com
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