Is it twins? Pregnant mothers often suspect that they are carrying more than one baby. Here are some of the most common signs of a twin or multiple pregnancy. Could you be having more than one? Check your symptoms against this list to see if you might be having twins or more.
1. Elevated HcG Levels
2. Doppler Heartbeat CountUsing harmless sound waves, a Doppler system amplifies fetal heart sounds, usually distinguishable late in the first trimester. An experienced physician or midwife can detect more than one heartbeat, indicating a multiple pregnancy. However, the sounds can be misleading; what appears to be a second heartbeat may actually be background noise or, rarely, the mother's own heartbeat.
3. Excessive Morning Sickness
About 50% of pregnant women experience some amount of vomiting or nausea associated with their pregnancy. Moms of multiples certainly aren't exempt, but neither are they doomed to a double dose. Only about 15% of respondents in a poll on this site reported enhanced morning sickness symptoms as an indicator of their multiple pregnancies. Experiences vary widely -- some do, some don't.
4. Weight GainJust as a multiple pregnancy may cause a mother to measure large, it may also result in an increased weight gain. How much weight a woman gains can vary depending on her height, body type and how much she weighed pre-pregnancy. Increased or rapid weight gain more than likely reflects eating choices rather than twins; generally, mothers of twins only gain about 10 lbs. more than singleton mothers.
5. Abnormal AFP Test Results
AFP (Alphafetoprotein) screening is a blood test performed on pregnant mothers during the second trimester. Also known as maternal serum screening or triple marker screen, it is used to identify increased risks of certain birth defects. A twin pregnancy can produce an unusually high -- or "positive" -- result. Generally, your medical caregiver will respond by scheduling an ultrasound for further assessment.
6. Measuring Large for Gestational AgeThroughout the pregnancy, the doctor or midwife may measure the height of the uterine fundus (from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus) as a way of indicating gestational age. A twin or multiple pregnancy may causes the mother's uterus to expand beyond the range of a single pregnancy. However, other factors may also increase the measurements.
7. Early/Frequent Fetal MovementFeeling a baby -- or babies -- move inside the womb is one of the most thrilling aspects of pregnancy. Although many moms of multiples do experience more frequent or earlier fetal movement, there is considerable disagreement among medical professionals on the subject. For some women, recognizable feelings of movement occur earlier in subsequent pregnancies, whether there is one baby or more.
8. Extreme FatigueThis is the most commonly reported complaint during pregnancy with multiples. Sleepiness, lethargy and exhaustion during the first trimester can be enhanced because the body is working overtime to nurture more than one baby. In some cases, the fatigue can be attributed to other factors (work, stress, poor nutrition, having other children), but it can also be an indication of multiples.
9. History/HunchesWhile the other items in this list refer to some kind of visible evidence -- exaggerated symptoms, abnormal test results, etc. -- we can't disregard the power of a mother's intuition. A family history of multiples, or a powerful hunch can be convincing indicators. Follow up with your doctor about these feelings.
Seeing is believing... the only way to indisputably confirm a twin or multiple pregnancy is to see it -- via ultrasound. An ultrasound image can indicate without a doubt if there is more than one fetus. Ultimately, no matter what other signs or symptoms you have, the only way you'll know for sure is to have an ultrasound. If you have suspicions that there may be more than one, discuss your concerns with your medical caregiver. It is very unlikely that an ultrasound view would miss an additional baby, especially in the second or third trimester. However there have been cases of hidden twins, and sometimes extreme higher order multiple pregnancies, such as quintuplets or sextuplets, have not provided an accurate count of the number of babies.