How to tell if they are expecting twins and what are the symptoms? Here is a lot of useful information to recognize the signs of twin pregnancy.
All about the signs of twin pregnancy
According to the National Twin Registry of the Higher Institute of Health, in the last twenty years in Italy twin pregnancy has grown by about 25%. The two main factors that have led to the increase in this rate are the increase in the age of new mothers and pregnancies from medically assisted procreation. The frequency of births of twins is in fact higher among mothers over 40 years old (2.4%), and rises to 19.8% in medically assisted procreation pregnancies. But what are the most common signs and how to recognize a pregnancy of homozygous or heterozygous twins?
Let’s find out together all the useful information to get calm at the first ultrasound and discover the signs of twin pregnancy.
In this article
What are the beta Hcg values in a twin pregnancy?
One of the first signs of a twin pregnancy are beta hcg values. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced by the placenta in pregnant women.
If the beta hCG value is greater than 5 mlU / ml of blood, pregnancy is likely. In the case of a twin pregnancy, the increase can be even higher and can reach almost double the norm. “The beta values are higher than in a single pregnancy, however the diagnosis is ultrasound and not on the beta values” explains Dr. Umbero Gattei, of the Mangiagalli Policlinico Maggiore Hospital.
When you see a twin pregnancy
A woman may find she is pregnant with twins towards the 5th week thanks to a vaginal ultrasound or to the 6th week thanks to an abdominal ultrasound. Pregnancy is counted from the first day of the last menstrual cycle.
A further obstetric ultrasound, performed after the 7th week, will instead be necessary to understand if the two fetuses are in the same amniotic sac and in the same placenta. In this case, ultrasound scans will be required more frequently. This is because it will be necessary to monitor more carefully that the twins are both developing normally.
If in normal pregnancy about 3 ultrasound scans are performed, therefore one every trimester, in twin pregnancy they could be more numerous just to ensure greater control of the fetuses.
The double heartbeat of twins
The absolutely painless ultrasound is performed several times during pregnancy, to follow the growth of the fetus inside the uterus. The first ultrasound should be performed between 6 and 14 weeks in order to establish how many months the fetus is and to calculate the date of delivery accordingly. During the first ultrasound, the gynecologist also assesses the state of health of the mother’s organs and placenta. The first ultrasound usually allows you to feel too the heartbeat of the fetus. A good expert, during the ultrasound, will be able to recognize the double heartbeat. When the mother is expecting two children, more frequent visits and ultrasound checks are scheduled, which allow to monitor both the fetal well-being and the state of health of the woman. Blood and urine tests are also performed in shorter times, for any deficiencies or pathologies.
Twin pregnancy and early fetal movement
It seems that women with twin pregnancies, unlike primiparous women who feel the movements towards the 20th week, are able to feel the movements of the fetus first, even in different parts of the stomach. “Regarding fetal movements in truth – Dr. Gattei tells us – the most important factor that leads to hearing them early is the fact that you have already had a previous pregnancy.”
How the belly grows in a twin pregnancy
According to the Humanitas Pio X hospital, there is no valid rule regarding weight gain. The number of “extra” pounds depends on many factors: the weight before getting pregnant, the body mass index, the health of the mother and the conformation of the baby. In general, the recommended weight gain is between 8 and 12 kg. A twin pregnancy of course, will bring a further weight gain. You will surely notice the belly growth first when it comes to a twin pregnancy. The woman who is expecting only one child, in fact, generally begins to “show” the belly at around 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, while those with twins around 14-15 weeks.
Twin pregnancy: all about childbirth
According to the Mangiagalli Clinic in Milan, twin pregnancy has a higher probability of ending preterm. The birth can be natural only if the first of the twins is in the cephalic position. Otherwise, and in the event of complications occurring during childbirth, it will be necessary to perform a cesarean. According to what is reported by the Department of Obstetric-Gynecological, Urological and Physiopathology of Human Reproduction Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, the risk of preterm birth is much higher in multiple pregnancies than in singles. 50% of twin fetuses are born before the 37th week, 90% of the triplets and only 9% of the single fetuses and before the 32nd week respectively 10.6%, 30.9% and 1.2% .
Article sources: Florence Health Authority, Milan Polyclinic, Humanitas San PioX and Stanford Childrens