Having twin babies is now common compared to previous years. Although this may be dependent on many factors, still the chances are high for any desiring couple. So if you are planning to get pregnant and are thinking of having twins, then it is important to know how twins form or happen.
How Do Twins Occur?
There are two kinds of twins: identical twins and fraternal twins.
In the case of identical twins, the egg is fertilized and then splits into two cells. Each cell carries identical DNA and so both children will look exactly the same with only slight differences such as height or birthmarks.
Fraternal twins are not identical. Instead of having one egg that splits into two, there are two eggs that are fertilized by two different sperm at the same time so they could be of two different sexes with different physical characteristics.
However, twins pregnancy and symptoms vary from woman to woman. A woman that is pregnant with twins or multiple may have a few numbers of symptoms different from when she is carrying a single pregnancy. So just know you may be having twins when you notice the following signs from 4weeks to 14weeks of your pregnancy.
Symptoms of Twins pregnancy
1. Extreme Fatigue
While this can also be caused by stress, work, and responsibilities, exhaustion is a common early sign of twin pregnancy. Moreover, it is not uncommon for pregnant women to be more tired than usual but those who are having twins tend to undergo enhanced exhaustion. This is may be due to the sharp rise in progesterone to support the gestation of two babies, combined with a higher basal metabolic rate (the rate at which the body uses energy) – thus causing debilitating fatigue. The first trimester is the most critical for developing the baby’s foundational body systems. This may also be associated with the mother’s body attempting to provide nutrients to more than one baby.
2. Excessive Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is common with all pregnant mothers but those who are carrying twins or multiples tend to experience more morning sickness than usual. This version of morning sickness is called “hyperemesis gravidarum”, which is when nausea and vomiting are so severe that a woman may need intravenous fluids and other assistance. However, not all mothers pregnant with twins will experience severe morning sickness. Some may not feel queasy at all. Every mom and pregnancy is different.
3. Increase In Weight Gain
There are numerous factors that can cause excessive weight gain, most of which are attributed to poor eating habits. The amount of weight a woman should gain depends on her height, body type, and pre-pregnancy weight. On average, women who are carrying multiples only gain about 10 more pounds than those carrying a single baby.
4. Elevated HCG Levels
Elevated levels of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the blood may indicate that you’re pregnant with twins. Usually, this hCG hormone is produced during pregnancy. If these numbers seem to spike in an early test, you could be having more than one baby. However, increased levels of hCG do not automatically indicate you are carrying twins or multiples. Therefore, a further medical investigation would be needed to verify the exact cause of a high hCG level.
5. Serious Breast Tenderness
Pregnancy can make breasts incredibly sore and tender. This is another early pregnancy symptom that is often extreme when it’s a twin pregnancy and hormone levels are elevated. Your breasts are working overtime since they’ll have to support two babies rather than just one.
6. Frequent Urination
Just like with a singleton pregnancy, carrying twins can cause increased urination due to rising levels of hCG. Since twin pregnancy hCG levels rise faster than those in singleton pregnancies, the increased need to go to the bathroom may be especially obvious.
7. History or Intuition
A multiples pregnancy can run in certain families. in some cases, mothers may have an intuitive feeling that they are pregnant with twins. However, many of these signs can have other causes, and the only way to be 100% positive that you are carrying twin babies is through ultrasound confirmation.
8. Bigger Belly Than Usual
Many women wonder, “when their belly will start showing with a twin pregnancy?” Well, it depends on so many factors but, in general, earlier than a singleton pregnancy!
Looking bigger than expected for gestational age is a possible sign of twin pregnancy, but keep in mind that many women show much earlier in subsequent pregnancies than their first.
Measuring the fundal height may be a more reliable identifier for possible twins. Midwives and doctors measure the fundal height (the height of the uterus) starting at about 12 weeks of pregnancy to see that the baby is growing normally. When the fundal height is larger than expected, it could mean that you’ve got twins or you have your conception or last period dates off.
9. Higher Resting Heart Rate
As we mentioned earlier, in pregnancy, the basal metabolic rate increases to provide nourishment for the baby. Similarly, the resting heart rate can increase too. A normal resting heart rate is around 70 beats per minute (bpm). During pregnancy that increases to 80 to 100 bpm. With a twin pregnancy, the heart rate can be even higher. After 100 bpm, tachycardia may be diagnosed. Tachycardia is often considered normal in pregnancy (so there’s no need to worry) but should be monitored by your midwife or doctor. While you can’t necessarily stop your heart from racing, it may be beneficial to include stress reduction in your life.
You can also read about 10 things that increase your chances of having twin babies
Twin Pregnancy Outlook and Advice
With twins, you’ll have to prepare for a whole lot of experience in double. This means you will probably be gaining more weight than with a single pregnancy. Due to this extra weight, a pregnancy with twins can often be more uncomfortable with severe exhaustion, stronger backaches, and headaches, among others.
So get plenty of sleep and rest. Try a pregnancy massage, a great stress reliever to those giving birth to multiples. Also be prepared for a possible c-section, as with multiples this is the more common way of giving birth. Because a twin pregnancy is considered a high-risk pregnancy, you will probably need to consult your obstetrician more often than if you were having a regular pregnancy. Do not be fazed as this is quite common with twins.
Having a twin pregnancy is most certainly a mixed blessing. Whilst having two children is an amazing experience, the pregnancy itself can be tough so make sure to take care of yourself.