Am I Having Twins? The Signs
When I was about 10 weeks pregnant I was very excited to see my doctor, because the pregnancy was advanced enough to be able to hear my baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler. We heard it, and it was unbelievable. It made everything seem real – there was, in fact, a baby on the way. I joked to my practitioner at the time, ‘there’s only one in there, right?’ She laughed and said no way was I having twins, I had barely gained any weight and besides, we could only hear one heartbeat. But, at the time, we were only looking for one heartbeat. A few weeks later when it came time for my triple screen results, my doctor was very concerned. She thought that my baby may have a spinal cord defect and sent me for an ultrasound that very day. The lab tech at the ultrasound sighed and said, ‘well that explains that – there’s two in there!’
The second baby had sent my triple screen blood work numbers through the roof, of course, literally doubling them. Another clue that I should have considered was that when I took my first at home pregnancy test it tested positive, even though I was days from missing my period. This is because women carrying multiples have more of the hormone hCG, or human chorionic gonadtropin, which can be detected early by pregnancy tests.
Twins occur in about one in every eighty pregnancies and the likelihood of twins has increased with more people having IVF and more women being of ‘advanced maternal age’ at the time of conception. Other factors that influence the likelihood of twins include family history, but only on the mother’s side. Also the chances of having twins increases with the number of prior pregnancies. If your abdomen begins to grow more quickly than it should your doctor may wonder whether you are carrying multiples and you may feel lots of fetal movement. However you can’t rely on symptoms alone. It’s also important to note that you can have zero ‘risk’ factors and still conceive twins. Ultrasound is the only way to verify that you are having multiples.