Difference Between Single And Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
When many women expect twins, they experience different symptoms, most of them being similar to women expecting single pregnancies. However, certain physical signs might indicate how many babies a woman is carrying.
Interestingly, many twin mothers can suspect from the onset that theirs is not a singleton pregnancy. Most of them experience increased intensity when experiencing the usual pregnancy symptoms, which prompts their curiosity. In many instances, a woman’s instincts are never wrong and when she suspects that she is carrying a twin pregnancy, it is confirmed by the ultrasound soon after that.
How Twins Grow
Just like their single-baby counterparts, twins develop from the embryo. By the time the pregnancy is between 10 to 14 weeks, one or two placentas are already formed in the body. Through an ultrasound device, the babies can be seen and their heartbeats can be felt. At this point, their eyes can move while their legs and arms can bend.
Between 14 to 18 weeks, their hair starts to grow on their heads. By the time they reach 22 weeks, they have already started sucking their thumbs, and at this time, the mother might start feeling their movements, which may feel like butterflies.
When they are 26 weeks old, they can close and open their eyelids. In typical scenarios, they can respond to the sound of their mum’s partner's voice when he speaks. They also do a lot of squirming and less turning and twisting.
By the time they reach 32 weeks, they start looking like babies with plump skin and hair. When they reach 34 weeks, their growth slows down, and their lungs get ready for breathing. At this stage, they are already past the stage where, if born early, they can develop breathing complications.
Excessive Pregnancy Symptoms
When many women realize they are expecting twins, they have no idea what to expect. Many of us consider a twin pregnancy a big blessing, but it is also a bigger risk when compared to a singleton pregnancy. These days, the number of mothers expecting twins and triplets has been steadily increasing in the United Kingdom and other countries in the world. Below are some of the most prevalent pregnancy symptoms that a twin mother is likely to face during pregnancy.
High risk of developing gestational diabetes
Twin mothers carry a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes when compared with their single-pregnancy counterparts. Gestational diabetes mainly occurs during pregnancy in women who have no prior history with it. Its symptoms are similar to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Since pregnant twin mothers have a higher risk of getting gestational diabetes, it is advisable to keep your glucose levels intact by eating a balanced diet, having regular checkups and doing some pregnancy exercises. When a pregnant mother gets gestational diabetes, she might give birth to babies that are bigger than normal.
Higher risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy
A twin pregnancy has 2-3 higher chances of getting preeclampsia when compared to a singleton pregnancy. Also known as clinical hypertension, preeclampsia is caused by high blood pressure during pregnancy.
In many cases, its symptoms exhibit themselves once the pregnancy reaches 20 weeks. They are normally detected during a routine checkup and include:
- Water retention
- Increased protein elements in the urine
- Puffiness in the feet or hands
- Abrupt weekly weight gain of up to two pounds
- Increased blood pressure
When a pregnant woman is suffering from preeclampsia, she is confused and agitated most of the time. Also, her mental state changes abruptly because she suffers from shortness of breath and regular vomiting and headaches.
Twin pregnancies require more obstetrician visits
When compared to singleton pregnancies, multiple-baby pregnancies require more regular monitoring. Many mothers feel the need to have frequent ultrasounds compared to the single growth and anatomy scans in normal pregnancies.
Soon after the early ultrasound that determines the type of twins and the exact location of the membranes, a lot more ultrasounds are required from the 16th week. Because birth defects are prevalent in twins, a detailed ultrasound is required when the pregnancy is between 18 and 22 weeks. If the twins are not identical, an ultrasound is required every 4 weeks during the pregnancy.
On the other hand, identical twins require an ultrasound every two weeks from when the pregnancy is 16 weeks old because of the risk involved with twin-twin transfusion syndrome. The amniotic volume and fetal growth are evaluated during every ultrasound examination. If more problems occur, additional tests may be conducted.
Your belly will grow faster and bigger
When it comes to the belly size, twin pregnancies stand out. When you are pregnant with twins at 4 months, your belly will be equivalent to the size of a pregnant woman who is 8 months.
Once you establish that you are expecting twins, expect your belly to adjust its size to accommodate the two humans. You will experience a bump growth every week, and your belly will show off sooner when compared to instances when you are pregnant with just one child. Your uterus grows larger to accommodate the babies, hence the rapid increase in belly size.
However, be conscious of the fact that some women grow to the size of a normal pregnancy when pregnant. If you are tall, you might carry the pregnancy smaller than a shorter woman. Another interesting thing to note is that you might fail to feel the babies moving simultaneously. In most instances, you will be feeling them move independently since the space within the uterus is limited. However, if there is a concern about the baby's movement, it is advisable to contact the obstetrician immediately.
You will also tend to eat more during your twin pregnancy when compared to a singleton pregnancy. As a result, your caloric intake will go up rapidly and you might find yourself eating a double portion. It is important to eat as advised by your physician, so that your babies can get the right amount of nutrients for optimum growth.
Increased morning sickness
When carrying a twin pregnancy, you have an upsurge of pregnancy hormones that increase your morning sickness frequency. In addition, according to research, a twin pregnancy carries a bigger risk factor for hyperemesis gravidarum, which is considered the most severe morning sickness disease.
If you experience a bout of nausea, make sure that you do the following:
- Eat foods that boost your digestion: There are different remedies for supporting digestion that you can take to boost your digestion. When you boost your digestion, you fight your morning sickness with twins episodes and enjoy the pregnancy more. Some of the most common include trying ginger chews or drinking peppermint tea.
- Do not stay on an empty stomach: When you feel hungry, make sure you eat something containing some proteins and healthy carbs. Nausea with twins is enhanced when you are on an empty stomach and when you reduce the hunger sensation by taking powerful bites, you reduce your chances of experiencing nausea which is normally caused by low blood sugar or sluggish bile.
- Support your liver: Your liver has the sole mandate of processing hormones and other toxins from the body. In many instances, it is overburdened, and you, therefore, need to feed on easily digestible food like dandelion, lemon water and safe digestive bitters.
- Eat a healthy diet at all times: When you eat a balanced diet at every meal, you will enable the body to regulate blood sugar (which is a major cause of morning sickness) and, at the same time, nourish your babies. Morning sickness worse with twins when you do not feed on a healthy balanced diet.
Extreme fatigue is one of the most commonly reported complaints by pregnant women expecting twins. During the first trimester, you will be experiencing exhaustion, severe lethargy and sleeplessness because the body is working overtime to nurture the multiple babies.
However, it is important to note that fatigue can also be attributed to other factors like poor nutrition, stress and having other children to look after. The degree of fatigue also depends on the individual, and some women may feel more fatigued than others.
High mood swings are one of the most common twins pregnancy symptoms. Because of the extra hormones, you will be experiencing intense feelings that will quickly come and disappear because of the fluctuating hormones.
When expecting twins, you imagine that many things could go wrong, and as a result, you get very anxious about everything. Many moms are worried about getting into premature labor, the finances needed to raise two kids and the joy associated with raising two kids. Unfortunately, all these feelings do not happen simultaneously, and the mother gets regular mood swings.
Do not be too harsh on yourself; instead, validate yourself and give yourself enough space to accept and recognize that your body is undergoing major changes and accept it. If it helps, try journaling your journey or look for fellow twin expectant mothers and share with them.
Changes in the sleeping pattern
When pregnant with twins, your body goes through physical and emotional stress. As a result, you will find that your sleeping pattern has changed and that you will be feeling sleepy when you least expect it and feeling insomnia when you are supposed to be asleep.
You will be experiencing exhaustion during the first and third trimesters, and just as you are advised to eat for two, you should also sleep for two. If you do not get enough sleep, you will feel extremely exhausted, which will greatly affect how you operate.
You should try to get to bed early to get the same amount of sleep before you become pregnant.
Frequently Asked Questions About Twin Pregnancies
How are twins conceived?
Twins happen naturally in two ways; the first way is when an egg splits soon after fertilization and, in the process, creates identical or monozygotic twins. The other way a twin pregnancy can be created is when two or more eggs are fertilized simultaneously.
Fertility drugs are known to increase the likelihood of a twin conception. There are also some drugs that facilitate a smooth conception of three or more babies.
Do twins share an amniotic sac and placenta?
Some twins may share a placenta and amniotic sac, while others may not. Below are the three possibilities that are known to exhibit:
One placenta and one amniotic sac
This is the most risky and rarest of all twin pregnancies. It is prone to fetal complications since the umbilical cords tangle. The pregnancy is also marred by an imbalance in blood and other vital nutrients.
One placenta and two amniotic sacs
Many identical twins result from two amniotic sacs sharing one placenta. This is also a high-risk pregnancy prone to different complications like twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
Two placentas and two amniotic sacs
This is the safest twin pregnancy since every baby has its own nutritional source and protective membrane.
Are all twin pregnancies delivered preterm?
Most twin pregnancies are delivered before the full gestation period. However, it is a big challenge to prevent preterm labor in a twin pregnancy compared to a singleton pregnancy.
Does a twin pregnancy have many complications?
When compared to a singleton pregnancy, it does. There are risks like premature birth, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and infections. During the pregnancy, some women may also face slowed growth of the babies. A twin pregnancy requires more close and specialized monitoring than a singleton pregnancy.
How is labor different with a twin pregnancy?
Most twins are born earlier when compared to singletons. In most cases, many twins are born through the caesarean section owing to the fact that they are in different positions in the womb.
Can twins be missed on an early ultrasound?
In most cases, twin pregnancies are detected on the first ultrasound. After that, the sonographer will see that there is more than one baby, especially in events where there are many amniotic sacs. From the ultrasound, the sonographer will listen to the babies’ heartbeats and even look at them through the screen.
When can pregnancy with twins be confirmed at the earliest?
The first ultrasound will detect all signs of twins. In many instances, doctors schedule the first ultrasound around 6 weeks to confirm the pregnancy’s growth. After that, the sonogram images will reveal the exact number of babies in the womb.