As we all know, each and every single pregnancy is different and unique for moms. So much so that one may have differing pregnancy symptoms even after having three or four children of their own. When it comes to twin pregnancies, however, there is one factor that is consistent throughout each of them.
You will begin to show signs of pregnancy significantly earlier in the case of twin pregnancies as opposed to singleton pregnancies. So, when do you start showing with twins? Well, you can start showing as early as during the first trimester of your pregnancy.
Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
There are some major early symptoms that will let you know that you are indeed having twins. One of the biggest symptoms is extra weight gain and showing earlier than usual. In singleton pregnancies, your bump becomes noticeable during your second trimester between 16-20 weeks according to WebMD.
However, in terms of twin pregnancies, you will gain weight much faster and normally start to show your bump much earlier, during the end of the first trimester. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who are pregnant with multiples may gain weight more quickly, as they need an extra 600 calories a day to sustain the twins.
Again, intense feelings of nausea and vomiting are common in pregnancies with twins, which has been linked to an increase in human chorionic gonadotropic hormone (HCG). In addition to these, an exaggerated manifestation of other pregnancy symptoms may also point to the presence of twins in the womb.
When Do Twins Show Up On Ultrasound?
The best way to find out if you are having twins is through an ultrasound of your lower abdomen. However, if you do an ultrasound very early on in the pregnancy, it might not be able to pick up the existence of two babies. Therefore, the time period between 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy is ideal for having this ultrasound done according to NHS.
This is often the time when your healthcare provider will be able to give you an accurate count of the number of fetuses, placentas, and amniotic sacs present. With this information, you will be able to determine whether or not your children are identical or fraternal twins. In addition, the information assists your healthcare providers in making appropriate recommendations regarding your pregnancy care.
In addition, between 18 and 20 weeks and 6 days into your pregnancy, you will be offered a scan that is referred to as an anomaly scan. The purpose of this scan is to determine whether or not your babies are developing normally.
However, in some cases, your doctor might not be able to discover the existence of twins in the ultrasound. This phenomenon is known as “hidden twin pregnancy”. This can happen due to the ultrasound being done too early, the twins being mo/mo twins, one twin hiding the other one, human error, etc.
Twin Pregnancy- Risks and Care Tips
With one added baby, there come some added risks as well. According to John Hopkins Medicine, a twin pregnancy might have complications like premature labor and birth, gestational hypertension, anemia, birth defects, miscarriage, Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, etc.
More than 60% of twins and almost all higher-order multiples are born prematurely (born before 37 weeks). The risk of premature birth increases as the number of fetuses in a pregnancy increases. Premature babies are born before their bodies and organs have fully developed.
These infants frequently have low birthweight (less than 2,500 grams or 5.5 pounds) and may require assistance with breathing, feeding, fighting infection, and remaining warm, some even needing to spend some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care(NICU).
Again, more than twice as many women with multiple babies develop excessive blood pressure as well as anemia during pregnancy. These symptoms typically manifest early and are more severe than in single-baby pregnancies.
Also, twin/multiple baby pregnancies have twice the risk of having congenital abnormalities than singleton babies. Moreover, vanishing twin syndrome is one type of miscarriage in which one of the twins stops developing after a certain period of time and the embryo gets absorbed by the mother, causing the pregnancy to be a singleton pregnancy.
Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome or TTTS is another type of complicated condition that occurs only with identical twins that share a placenta.
Now, in order to face these possible complications head-on, it is important to know about what is going on with your twins. And to do that it is important to visit your health care provider regularly along with keeping track of their growth. Your doctor will advise you about the essential tests, ultrasounds, twin pregnancy belly growth chart, and so on that, you will need to undergo.
Other than these, eating enough, drinking a lot of liquids, getting regular exercise that is suitable for your body, and keeping your mind fresh and tension-free will help you have a smooth twin pregnancy. You can consider getting a polaroid camera to document the growth of your twin bump. You can also get belly butter to reduce the appearance of stretch marks on your belly, as well as some maternity pants for the comfort of that big twin belly!
One of the tell-tell signs of twin pregnancies is the fact that the bump grows in size earlier than in the case of single pregnancies. Mothers can look like they are “about to pop’’ during only the 30th week of their pregnancy. The best way to be sure about having twins is by having an ultrasound toward the end of the first trimester.
The main concern should be how to bring your babies into the world safely in a healthy way, instead of when you start showing with twins. With proper guidelines from the doctors and good self-care, one can hope to have a happy and safe pregnancy as well as a smooth delivery.