The number of women giving birth to twins has risen over the past couple decades. This may be due to the increase in fertility treatments and the fact that more women are becoming pregnant later in life. Early in a pregnancy, a woman may become concerned that she is carrying twins, and she may begin to search for symptoms. Every woman carrying twins develops differently; however, there are certain signs that can be associated with multiple birth pregnancies.
The Symptoms of a Twin Pregnancy
Many women who are carrying twins experience the traditional pregnancy symptoms, but they may be more intense. Morning sickness may turn into all day sickness, and the nausea and vomiting may become more severe. The typical fatigue that most pregnant women experience may also be heightened for a woman carrying twins. The woman’s energy may be drained after performing the simplest task. Many carriers of twins claim to feel movement earlier than mothers carrying single babies. The movement may also be more constant and come from many spots at once. Another sign of a twin pregnancy is excessive weight gain. It is common for a woman carrying twins to gain ten pounds in the first trimester. This occurs because of the increase in blood volume. An unusual or rapid increase in the size of the uterus can indicate a twin pregnancy as well.
Determining If Twins Are Present
In order to determine if the symptoms experienced are due to a multiple pregnancy, an ultrasound can be performed. Ultrasound imaging can validate a mother’s suspicions by creating an image of each fetus. An ultrasound that is performed too early may not be accurate, so the later it’s performed, the better the chances of viewing both babies. A physician may also be able to detect two heartbeats by using a fetal heart Doppler. This monitoring system can amplify the sound of a fetal heartbeat. For some women, Alpha-fetoprotein screening may also identify a twin pregnancy. This blood test is typically used to indicate birth defects, but women carrying twins often have high levels of the protein as well.
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“Preparing for Multiple Births .” KidsHealth – the Web’s most visited site about children’s health. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/pregnancy/multiple_births.html.
“Twin pregnancy: What multiples mean for mom – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/twin-pregnancy/PR00120.