How to Prepare for the Unexpected: A Complete Guide to Surprise Twins

Surprise twins

Babies are considered to be heavenly additions to one’s life and family and if you are expecting twins then the happiness is doubled. However, surprise twins can be a matter of concern to those who are unaware of many facts and information regarding them. Pregnancy comes with its tolls, both mental and physical.

Understanding the situation is one of the most important keys to tackling unexpected twins as correct information will significantly lessen the uncertainties and difficulties. In addition to that, you will be able to experience pure exuberance at the exciting news of an extra member of the family. This is why this article will help you to relieve the tension regarding an unplanned addition to your family.

What are surprise twins at birth?

Firstly, it is important to understand the conditions under which such situations may arise. One of the most common causes of this is identified to be what is known as a “hidden twin”. Such situations arise when the existence of multiple babies in the womb is left undiscovered by both the doctors and the ultrasound reports earlier on in the pregnancy.

As per reports, this is a very common scenario nowadays. Generally, this phenomenon of hidden twins happens mostly during the first trimester of pregnancy. During this time, the size of the embryo is minute, to say the least.

This makes it difficult for ultrasound doctors to identify the second or hidden twin. Additionally, the heartbeat of the child also remains unnoticed because of its petite size. As these two are the only features of identifying a second baby, the pregnancy is assumed to be consisting of a single fetus.

There are many cases where the second twin remains undetected even during multiple ultrasounds as late as the second trimester. According to experts, this might happen because of the position of the baby as there can be one twin hiding behind the other during an ultrasound.

What are some of the symptoms of hidden twin pregnancies?

Even though these are not always 100 percent accurate, some symptoms can help recognize the existence of twins in a pregnancy.

Apart from the mother’s own gut feeling, there are a few symptoms to be taken under consideration. Firstly, elevated HCG levels, severe morning sickness, and unusual weight gain are some very strong indications.

Furthermore, severe fatigue, extreme nausea, and vomiting are also symptoms of such a condition. An unusually high AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) blood test result, frequent movements from the baby, and measuring larger than your gestational age can also be good indicators of hidden twin pregnancies.

A common question in the multiple pregnancy genre is “can twins hide behind each other?”. Well, the answer is yes. Experts claim that though the above-mentioned symptoms are helpful, they can turn out to be misleading in many cases. This is why doctors highly recommend multiple ultrasound examinations to confirm the existence of multiple babies in pregnancy.

Case studies of surprise twins at birth

Case studies of surprise twins at birth

Several women have shared their real-life experiences and stories online as well as in published news articles of surprise twins at birth. One such case study included a woman who had little to no medical help during her pregnancy.

As she could not afford modern medical technologies like advanced ultrasounds, blood tests, scans, or measurements. Despite it feeling different than her earlier pregnancies, she dismissed her guts with the thought that there was no history of twins on either side of her family. Surprisingly, she went into labor earlier than usual and her doctor informed her of the fact that she was having twins.

Many stories contain experiences of mothers finding out about hidden twins at the third trimester. Though this is unlikely, it still happens. Some case reports say that this late identification sometimes leads to complications arising during the delivery like one twin blocking or hurting certain body parts of the other twin. 

Another interview includes a woman, 34, a mother of 3, shuddering the words ” I didn’t know I was pregnant with twins” as she describes her horrifying experience of almost losing one of her babies as the couple had decided not to take much medical help and were not medically prepared to separate the wedged heads of their twins at birth.

Surprise twin free-birth is the climax of another story of a yoga teacher who had no idea she was having twins and just assumed she was pregnant with a healthy baby like her first child when she felt she was measuring larger than usual.

She had decided to go for a free birth and had no medical support whatsoever when the hidden twin was born with breathing problems. Thankfully they were able to revive the child by clearing the vernix she was covered in and by breathing air into her nose and lungs.

Risks of having unexpected twins

A number of complications and risks accompany twin pregnancies. This is one of the main reasons such pregnancies are termed “high risk” pregnancies in a journal published by the National Library of Medicine.

These risks include high chances of premature births, TTTS (Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome), iron deficiency and anemia in the newborn, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight, and so on. Such problems even continue after birth and give rise to conditions like mental disabilities, loss of vision, and hearing problems. Cerebral palsy among children born under such conditions is frequently rising in numbers.

Therefore, a mother having unexpected twins should be put under constant monitoring and prenatal care as soon as it is confirmed she is having multiple babies. This is perhaps the only way to avoid health risks and complications for both the mother and the babies.

It is one of the safest options to follow when having unplanned and unexpected twins in order to go through a pregnancy and delivery that does not pose any potential threat to the mother or her children.

Moreover, as soon as you find out that you are having twins, you can do some last-minute shopping for the twins for items like double breastfeeding pillows to make the nursing of the babies easier.

Are hidden twins a common scenario nowadays?

Under a few select conditions, hidden twins are a common picture. For instance, in many remote areas of the world, women still do not receive proper medical attention during pregnancy which includes having no ultrasounds at all.

These cases result in the discovery of the existence of the twins at the time of their birth. These people are not allowed the simple luxury of announcing their pregnancies to social media or even their families via “surprise we are having twins” posts or cards.

Apart from social barriers, medical shortcomings also contribute to hidden twin pregnancies. Misleading and misinterpreted ultrasounds are top of the list here.

The 20th week of pregnancy is said to be highly sensitive as this is around which time the ultrasound reports are supposed to give the most accurate results of the quantity and quality of the pregnancy.

Moreover, if the babies are monochorionic or both inside the same sac (chorion), there is a high chance of the babies being positioned in such a close manner that the environment would make it tricky to detect the presence of a second baby inside the womb.


To sum up, it is not very tough to understand the fear, tension, and risks that accompany pregnancy. Moreover, when it comes to surprise twins the matter becomes especially sensitive. It is natural to feel vulnerable and worried during such times if one is not properly informed about the details of such conditions. The danger comes after us when we are most susceptible to it both physically and mentally.

This article will help you understand the basics of twin pregnancies so that you can surprise your family with twins without any negativity lingering at the back of your mind about being unprepared for any untoward situation both during the pregnancy and the delivery.


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