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* Feeling fetal movement early in the pregnancy
There is considerable disagreement among medical professionals as to whether a woman carrying twins is more likely to feel movement earlier. But many moms do claim that those early flutters and flips were their first clue that they might be having more than one. Kim is a mom of two sets of twins, as well as a singleton. She says, "When I was pregnant with my boys, I knew I was having more than one baby. I had already had *one* baby and there was no way I was having just one. It was either two or an octopus!"
However, Jae, who is expecting twins later this year, has experienced the opposite. "As far as movement goes though, if I didn't know was having twins, I wouldn't have a clue. Because my daughter was a crazy baby in utero! She kicked and bounced and jumped around all the time. These two little guys so far, are no match for her! And I'm 21 weeks now!"
* Abnormally high results from an alphfetoprotein (AFP) test
For many mothers who do not experience any other extraordinary symptoms, this is the first thing that raises suspicions for them -- and their physicians. The AFP test measures a protein secreted by the fetal liver. More than one baby increases the amount of this protein in the mother's blood, and will produce a "high" result. Because a high result can also suggest abnormalities with a single baby, a doctor will usually schedule an ultrasound for further determination of the situation.
* Unusually extreme fatigue, not attributable to other factors
Nurturing one baby drains a body's energy, but carrying around two, three or more is positively exhausting! It's easy to dismiss the increased fatigue. If you've never had a baby before, you might be surprised by your lack of energy, but not realize it is out of the ordinary. If you have had previous singleton pregnancies, you might attribute the tiredness to being older or maintaining the responsibilities of family and work.
But fatigue is probably the most common complaint of mothers of multiples. A mom recalls that during pregnancy with her fraternal girls, "The biggest thing was the tiredness. Without fail, I could not keep myself awake past 3 PM. It hit me whilst I was driving one day. I managed to stay awake til I got home but as soon as I had turned the car off, I fell asleep (we were parked in the driveway) and stayed that way until my son, who was also sleeping in the car, woke me an hour later!
I have all of the above! Could it be multiples?
Check out our list of the Top Ten Signs of Twins/Multiples. If you suspect you are having multiples -- due to the enhanced symptoms described here, or other "gut" feelings -- talk to your medical provider. The only way to know for sure if you are carrying more than one baby is a thorough ultrasound performed by a trained professional in the second trimester.
Listening for dual heartbeats is tricky even for the most experienced obstetricians, even with Doppler technology. And an early sonogram isn't conclusive either. I have the pictures to prove it! My seven-week sonogram showed one perfect bean-sized bubble. (My now nine-year-old identical girls have always been skilled at playing hide-and-seek!)