Am I Having Twins??

It's common for a pregnant woman to wonder if she just might be carrying more than just the one baby. Maybe you wonder why your belly seems so large for so early in the pregnancy. How can you know if you're carrying twins, triplets, or (Gadzooks!) quadruplets? Below are some common symptoms that would suggest a twin or multiple pregnancy. The more signs you check off on this list, the more likely it is that you've got more than one in there. See a doctor for confirmation.

*Gaining weight? While it's true that a multiple pregnancy can cause an increase in abdominal girth, rapid weight gain is more often about diet than multiple pregnancy. Twin and multiple pregnancies tend not to increase weight by much more than a singleton pregnancy. Ten pounds on top of the average pregnancy weight gain is about right. But if your belly looks very large, this could signify that you are carrying more than one fetus.

*Severe Morning Sickness. Up to 50% of all pregnant women do have some nausea or vomiting during pregnancy. Most moms of multiples don't report morning sickness as an indication of multiple pregnancy. The bottom line is that some moms have it and some moms don't.

Early Movement?

*Early or Frequent Fetal Movement. The experts disagree on whether early or frequent fetal movement is a symptom of a twin or multiple pregnancy. Women who carry twins or multiples after an earlier singleton pregnancy do seem to report feeling the baby's movements earlier on in the pregnancy, but this is also true of subsequent singleton pregnancies.

*Extreme Fatigue. This one is real. The most common complaint reported by women carrying multiples is exhaustion and fatigue during the first trimester of pregnancy.

* Family History and Intuition. If your intuition tells you you're carrying more than one baby, or you have a family history of twins or multiples, these are indications you shouldn't ignore. See your doctor for confirmation.

Best Confirmation

*Ultrasound Images. On the way in for your first ultrasound test, you may be wondering if you're carrying more than one baby. On the way out, you'll know for sure. Ultrasound tests are the best confirmation of twin and multiple pregnancies.

* Fetal Heartbeat Count. The Doppler system can detect and amplify heart sounds by the end of the first trimester. It can be difficult to distinguish multiple heartbeats, but your doctor or midwife should be experienced enough to detect the presence of more than one heartbeat.

*High HcG Values. Human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone that can be found in a pregnant woman's urine or blood about 10 days into a pregnancy. The hormone increases quite fast, reaching a peak level after 10 weeks. Twins sometimes cause an elevation of HcG levels.

Positive Result

*Abnormal Results for AFP Testing. During the second trimester, some pregnant women undergo alphafetoprotein screening, a blood test that can identify pregnancies at high risk for specific birth defects. Twins sometimes produce a very high number, which counts as a positive result.

*Large Girth for Gestational Age. At various points during your pregnancy, you will be measured to determine the height of the uterine fundus. This measure is from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. This is one way for your doctor or midwife to measure the age of your pregnancy. Twin and multiple pregnancies tend to expand the uterus past what would be expected of a singleton pregnancy.  

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