How You Can Find Out If You're Expecting Twins Or More

Is there one baby in there... or two? Here's a look at how you may be able to find out if you're expecting twins or more!
How will you know if you're carrying twins or higher-order multiples? Many expectant parents learn at an ultrasound exam, usually at or before 20 weeks.

Some possible indicators that you could be carrying more than one baby include:

  • Measuring large for dates (size of the uterus)
  • Excess weight gain
  • Amplified pregnancy symptoms, such as severe morning sickness or excessive fatigue
  • An AFP blood test result inconsistent with a singleton pregnancy
  • More than one heartbeat heard via Doppler

None of these symptoms, however, is a reliable indicator of a multiple pregnancy -- and, as you have probably learned, any pregnant woman can experience all of them. Likewise, a woman carrying twins or more may not experience any particularly unusual symptoms at all.

More details
Symptoms of twin or multiple gestation can show up early in pregnancy, consisting primarily of excessive morning sickness, strong other symptoms of pregnancy (metallic taste in your mouth, "feeling pregnant," frequent urination) and fatigue.

You may measure large for dates (based on uterine size/fundal height), though this could also indicate an error in remembering or calculating your due date, extra amniotic fluid, the presence of fibroids, twins or more... or it could be just a variation of a normal with only one baby inside.

AFP (alpha fetaprotein) tests will catch approximately 65% of twin pregnancies. In twin pregnancies, AFP results are not reliable because there is no way to determine the alpha fetoprotein levels from each separate baby. Doppler (the audio ultrasound device used at most prenatal checkups) may pick up more than one heartbeat.

When a multiple birth is suspected, you will be scheduled for an ultrasound. In an ultrasound exam, the baby or babies can be visualized.

If you find out it's twins-plus, come chat to other moms-to-be on the expecting multiples message board!


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