The thought of having twins crosses nearly every woman’s mind at least once when she confirms she’s pregnant. Though an ultrasound is the only way to confirm a twin pregnancy before birth, there are other symptoms and signs commonly reported by mothers of twins. Knowing how many babies you are expecting early on can help you better prepare for birth and what to expect after birth.
Your family history can be a determining factor in the probability of having twins. If you are a twin or there are numerous twin births on your side of the family tree, your chances of conceiving twins may be greater than a woman who doesn’t have twins in her family. It all has to do with the likelihood of releasing more than one egg at a time. Another factor that makes twins or higher order multiples likely is fertility treatments, such as hormone medication or in vitro fertilization.
Many mothers who have carried twins report exaggerated pregnancy symptoms. For example, extreme fatigue and morning sickness are both symptoms. Every pregnancy is different, but experienced moms who have been pregnant with singletons also report exaggerated symptoms. Another early sign that can point to twins is higher levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, which is the hormone a woman’s body produces while pregnant. This can cause a home pregnancy test to come back quickly with a bright “positive” line, as opposed to a faint line early in the pregnancy.
The amount of weight you gain and size of your uterus, as measured by the outward appearance of the “baby belly,” can be another indication of a twin pregnancy, especially for first-time mothers. A woman who has to wear maternity clothes during the first trimester or whose uterus measures much further along than she actually is might be expecting more than one baby. Women who have previously been pregnant may show sooner than the first pregnancy because the uterus has already been stretched.
There are a few ways you can find out if you are expecting twins. The first indication could be if your doctor hears two heartbeats when he listens to your uterus between your eighth and 10th week. The only way to confirm you’re carrying twins positively is with an ultrasound, although one baby can still hide from the ultrasound early on.
The only way to know for sure if the twins are identical without a DNA test is if they share a sac in the womb, but they may be identical even if they have separate sacs. Another possibility to be aware of is known as “vanishing twin syndrome,” which is when there are two fetuses, but one disappears before gestation is complete.
Carrying two babies means your body needs more fuel and rest to give each of the babies what they need to develop and to grow. Eat more frequently and healthily if possible, which may be difficult if you are experiencing exaggerated morning sickness. Give your body a break and allow yourself more sleep and food if you suspect you may be carrying twins.