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Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Pregnancy

E Fact

Multiples manifest their presence in several ways, but no one symptom distinguishes itself as a clear indicator. Some mothers of multiples report a strong suspicion based on one factor or combination of signals, while others experience absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

Some mothers are fully aware that they are pregnant with two or more babies from the very beginning of their pregnancy. They may have strong and accurate powers of intuition or, more likely, they are under the supervision of a reproductive specialist who is monitoring every step of the conception process. However, most women who spontaneously conceive twins, triplets, or more won't begin to suspect anything out of the ordinary until their pregnancy progresses.

Suspicious Signs

Any of the following indicators may come up in the first trimester. If you experience them to an unusually extreme degree, it may be a sign that you are carrying multiples.

You may be aware of some or all of these indications, or none at all. Perhaps your doctor or midwife brought the symptoms to your attention during a routine exam. However, they are also all normal consequences of pregnancy, which makes it quite difficult to tell whether they are truly a sign of multiples.

E Alert

The phenomenon of one audible heartbeat is particularly common with monochorionic monozygotics . Not only do they have similar heart rhythms, but they tend to settle close to each other because they are contained in the same sac.

A Certain Something

In addition to physical symptoms, many mothers of multiples report an unexplainable hunch or vague suspicion early in pregnancy. Often it's triggered by unusual circumstances that bring multiples to the forefront of their attention. Perhaps they dream about having twins, or find themselves running across several sets of multiples in a public place. Or they may encounter mysterious phenomena that occur in sets of twos or threes. One expectant mother of twins discovered that the eggs she'd bought for holiday baking all contained double yolks; two days later an ultrasound revealed that she was having twins!

Hearing Heartbeats

You might assume that multiple babies would be easily identified by listening for multiple heartbeats. Unfortunately, that is not an effective practice in early pregnancy. Distinct heartbeat sounds are usually only detected toward the end of the first trimester, about week twelve. Even then, what sounds like an additional baby might actually be an echo of the mother's own beating heart. In other situations, multiple babies that are positioned fairly close together in the womb may have indistinguishable rhythms that are misinterpreted as a single heartbeat.

From The Everything Twins, Triplets, and More Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

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