Want a pair of twins so that they can celebrate Twins Day in Ohio every year? It’s every parent’s wish to see their children getting along well, but some parents might find it double the trouble. What’s the possibility of you having twins, when can you find out, are there symptoms, what are the risks (in comparison to singleton pregnancies), and what will weight gain for you be like?
Signs of having twins: Identical twins and fraternal twins
One fertilized egg, for reasons unknown, divides into two when undergoing cell division. When twins come from the same egg, they’re called identical twins. The twins will be identical simply because they come from the same egg, have the same “roots”, and are made up of the same genetic material. They will be like peas in a pod – of the same sex, have the same faces and be of the same build.
Usually, only one egg matures during a menstrual cycle, but again, for reasons unknown, two eggs become mature at the same time, and both become fertilized. These two eggs are fertilized by different sperms but grow at the same time, and so are fraternal twins. Fraternal twins are more like siblings – they aren’t necessarily of the same sex or blood type and they might have different faces, be of different builds, and have more physical differences than similarities.
Identical twins are less common, and fraternal twins are much more common as they tend to run in families. (Scientists have identified genetic variations that are possibly responsible for fraternal twins going on to have fraternal twins.)
The number of twins is on the rise in developed countries, as more women turn to infertility treatment. The high success rates of in-vitro fertilization have created multiple fertilized eggs and fertility drugs have helped facilitate the successful implantation of multiple eggs at the same time.
Are there signs of being pregnant with twins?
An ultrasound scan at around Week 6 will show you the gestational sac, and you’ll be able to confirm the fetal heartbeat in Weeks 7 and 8. Fraternal twins come from two different fertilized eggs, have two separate gestational sacs, and can be determined much faster than identical twins are. Identical twins, on the other hand, are usually determined when two heartbeats can be detected.
Depending on the angle of an ultrasound scan, some moms only find out much later in Weeks 9 to 17 that they’re expecting twins. This is also because there aren’t any noticeable signs to indicate that it’s a twin pregnancy and not a singleton pregnancy. You’ll have to wait for your practitioner to tell you whether you’re expecting twins or not!
Symptoms of having twins: Differences between a twin pregnancy and a singleton pregnancy
Are there signs that you could be pregnant with twins? For example, if you have two babies, is morning sickness twice as bad? That isn’t necessarily the case! Be it a singleton pregnancy or a multiple pregnancy, morning sickness can be mild or severe, and this depends on the individual.
However, it’s more likely that a mom expecting twins to become anemic in comparison to a mom expecting only one baby. This is the mother needs to provide for 2.
The risks of a preterm birth, having weak labor contractions and having a difficult labor are higher in twin pregnancies. Also, the babies are at higher risk of becoming low weight infants and the mother is at higher risk of getting gestational hypertension. If you don’t feel well, make sure you talk to your practitioner.
Weight gain with twins
How much weight should you be putting on if you have twins? According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), expectant moms with normal-range BMI should put on 37 to 54 pounds, while expectant moms with BMI of 25 and above should put on about 31 to 50 pounds when they are expecting twins.1Remember that these are simply recommendations. Talk to your practitioner for advice specifically tailored to you.
It’s not just the weight. You’ll have a belly that’s much bigger than what you’d have in a singleton pregnancy. There aren’t many changes in belly size in the first trimester, but your belly will expand about 1.5 times faster than in a singleton pregnancy in the second trimester onward. You might become as big as moms who’re in their last month when you’re only in Month 7, and when it comes to the last month of pregnancy, you might have a waist circumference of more than 100 cm. It’s not surprising that moms expecting twins sometimes have trouble fitting into maternity wear as well.
More stretch marks are a sign that you’re pregnant with twins
When you have twins, your belly will become big suddenly and there is a high chance that you’ll have stretch marks or have itchy skin that spells the beginnings of stretch marks.
Refrain from scratching, though! Get skincare products to help you deal with it and keep your skin moist. It’s recommended that you start having a skincare routine from Month 5 of pregnancy when your belly becomes much bigger.
Double the trouble? Double the joy!
Twins, double the load you have to carry, double the trouble, but also double the joy of parenthood. Double the things you have to take note of as well – make sure you manage weight gain and your health with much more diligence. Although too much weight gain isn’t good, too little weight gain isn’t healthy either. Moms who don’t put on enough have a higher risk of a preterm birth.
When the signs of you having twins started appearing, how did you feel? Having twins is far from being a piece of cake, but think of the fun you’ll have with not one, but two, bundles of joy!