Wondering if you could be carrying twins? Look for these signs.
Now that you’re pregnant, do you sometimes wonder if you’re carrying twins?
Three out of every 100 pregnant women in the U.S. become pregnant with multiples. If you’re one of them, you may see some signs. If you don’t, your doctor will. Here are some of the earliest indications that you may be having more than one baby:
- Increased pregnancy symptoms. Morning sickness and vomiting may be worse than in a normal pregnancy. Indigestion, swelling and fatigue can be more severe as well. Although your symptoms may point to twins, it’s also just as possible that you are just having a rougher-than-normal pregnancy.
- First trimester weight gain. During the first three months of pregnancy with twins, you may gain more weight than you would with just one baby.
- A large uterus. Your doctor may suspect that you’re carrying multiples if your uterus is larger than it should be for your due date. This may not mean you’re having twins, but it can be a sign. If this is not your first pregnancy, you may show earlier than you did with your first baby.
- Multiple heartbeats. Your doctor may be able to hear more than one heartbeat during your prenatal exam.
- Increased fetal movement. If this isn’t your first pregnancy, you’ll probably notice more kicking than the first time around.
How likely are you to have twins?
No one is predisposed to having identical twins. They are created when a fertilized egg spontaneously splits in half.
Fraternal twins, though, occur when two eggs are fertilized by different sperm from the same source at the same time. Certain factors play a part in determining whether or not you are likely to have fraternal twins. These include:
- Use of fertility drugs or in vitro fertilization. Fertility drugs cause the ovaries to release more than one egg during any one cycle. In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves the placement of more than one embryo back into the uterus.
- Advanced age. Women who are over 30 are more likely to release multiple eggs during ovulation.
- Previous pregnancies or previous multiples. If you’ve already had a child, or a multiple pregnancy, you have an increased chance of having twins.
- Family history. If there are fraternal twins in your family, your chances for twins increase.
- Race. Black women are more likely than white women to have multiple births. Asian and Hispanic women are less likely.
If your doctor suspects a multiple pregnancy, he or she will perform an ultrasound. Multiples can be detected early in the second trimester.
Unless one baby is “hiding” behind another, the ultrasound will show if you are having twins. If twins are detected, your doctor may be able to tell you whether they are identical or fraternal.
Sometimes, one twin will disappear. This is known as vanishing twin syndrome. This may be caused by a chromosomal abnormality, but scientists aren’t sure. When this happens early in the pregnancy, there is usually no risk to the surviving twin.
If you are carrying twins, your obstetrician will probably want to see you more often than if you were carrying just one baby. Because there are increased health risks for multiples, more frequent prenatal visits can help prevent and detect any complications that may arise in your pregnancy.
Women Who Deliver Twins Live Longer
“The prevailing view is that the burden of childbearing on women is heavier when bearing twins. But we found the opposite: women who naturally bear twins in fact live longer and are actually more fertile,” adds expert Ken R. Smith, PhD.
The investigator holds an appointment as the director of the University of Utah Pedigree and Population Resource. This group is responsible for maintaining and managing the large Utah Population Database.
The women analyzed in this study were born between1807 and 1899 in Utah. Of the 58,786 non-polygamous participants, about 4,603 gave birth to twins, while 54,183 only gave birth to one baby at a time, the investigators reports.
“People are always interested in what affects how long we are going to live. It’s complicated. There are so many factors that contribute to longevity, health and aging,” Smith explains further.
“This study has been able to identify – and it’s a fairly novel result – another important factor that contributes to health and longevity in later years, namely, that women bearing twins appear to be healthier,” he goes on to say
“That innate healthiness is contributing to their ability to have twins, and it is also contributing to their longevity,” Smith concludes.