Often, women suspect that they may be carrying more than one baby, but how do you know for sure? Twin pregnancy symptoms are not so much different to normal pregnancy symptoms, but they are felt much earlier. From the stage of gestation, twin pregnancy symptoms tend to be felt more clearly and with more emphasis before the normal gestational age and stage. Here are the rundown of typical symptoms experienced by expecting mothers.
Read More: Are All Twin Pregnancies High Risk?
Expecting Twins? Here’s What You Need to Know
What are the symptoms of twin pregnancy?
Symptoms for twins during pregnancy vary from mother to mother, but most mothers report exaggerated pregnancy symptoms from a very early stage. Some symptoms include:
- Extreme morning sickness: the greater increase in several pregnancy hormones, morning sickness can be especially bad during a twin pregnancy.
- Increased weight gain: most moms find out that theri weight increases dramatically when pregnant with multiple embryos
- Feel more foetal movement early on during the pregnancy
- Extreme fatigue: Nurturing a baby already drains your energy, but carrying two, three or more can be even more exhausting. If you’ve never had a baby before, you might be surprised by your lack of energy, but not realise it’s out of the ordinary.
- Family history: if you come from a family with a history of carrying twins, you’re more likely to expect twins.
- Your uterus is growing faster than expected: If your uterus seems to be growing more rapidly than expected for your due date, a multiple pregnancy may be suspected.
- Heightened breast tenderness, the breasts get so sensitive that wearing a bra is uncomfortable
- Some women will experience more uterine cramping (which is not associated with any blood loss), this can be a symptom of round ligament pain and is due to the uterus expanding relatively quickly.
How is a twin pregnancy confirmed?
You are not carrying twins until they are confirmed by the doctor so that you can be 100% sure. The doctor will look for the following:
- Ultrasound, where two embryos are clearly defined
- Abnormally high results from an AFP test: an AFP test measures a protein secreted by the foetal liver. More than one embryo increases the amount of this protein in the mother’s blood, and will produce a higher result than expected from a single child.
- Hearing two, separate heartbeats on a Doppler
- Higher resting heart rate: the basal metabolic rate for the mother increases to provide nourishment for the baby/babies. With a twin pregnancy, the heart rate can be even higher. Higher heart rates are risky and should be monitored by your doctor.
How early can you get pregnancy symptoms with twins?
These symptoms typically start in the first trimester and extend till late second trimester. But you’ll have to wait until you can confirm with an ultrasound after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
When is twin pregnancy is more likely?
Often, people who fall into these categories have a higher rate of multiple pregnancy. These include:
- Women over 30 years of age
- The odds are higher for having a twin pregnancy in women who are taller than average than for those of average or shorter height
- Overweight women (according to your BMI)
- Women with genetic history of carrying multiple children at once (See Family History in Symptoms)
- For women who are expecting for the second time (ie, this is your second pregnancy)
Is there anything else I should think about if I have twins?
Here are some things to keep in mind when expecting multiple kids:
- Allow yourself plenty of opportunity to rest. Growing twins and raising them to term takes a lot of energy
- You may need to have more regular ultrasounds than if you were carrying one baby
- Keep monitoring your BP to avoid Preeclampsia
- Get regular antenatal check ups
- Check with a dietician to meet your body’s nutritional demands
- Eat well-balanced meals and snacks at regular intervals
- Exercise by walking around for half an hour everyday, it really makes a difference and helps keep you in shape
And finally, plan for and earlier than the expected delivery date. Twins have a habit of coming early and it pays to be well organised.