Many women suspect that they might be carrying more than one baby, buthow can you know for sure. The following indicators may point towardsa multiples pregnancy.
This is the only way to know for sure if you are carrying more thanone baby. Multiples can be identified in an ultrasound.
Doppler Heartbeat Count
Fetal heart sounds may be detected by a Doppler system late in thefirst trimester. Experienced doctors and midwives may be able to detectmultiple heart beats; however, this can be inaccurate since a singlepregnancy heartbeat can be detected in several areas of the mother’sabdomen.
Elevated hCG Levels
hCG is the hormone that is produced during pregnancy. Women who arecarrying multiples may have increased levels of hCG; however, increasedlevels of hCG does not automatically indicate multiples. Further investigationwould need to be done to verify the cause of a high hCG level.
Abnormal AFP Test Results
Alphafetoprotein (AFP) Screenings are performed during the secondtrimester. It is also called the maternal serum screening or the triplemarker test and is used to detect certain birth defects. This testmeasures the amount of a certain protein that is secreted by the fetalliver. Therefore, a multiples pregnancy may give off a positive orhigh test reading.
Measuring Large for Gestational Age
Most doctors and midwives monitor a women’s fundal height(the distance between the top of the pubic bone to the top of theuterus) during pregnancy. This measurement can help indicate the gestationalage. Women who are carrying multiples often experience more uterinestretching, and the fundal height may be greater than the actual gestationalage. However, there may be other factors that cause this to occur.
There are numerous factors that can cause excessive weight gain,and most are attributed to poor eating habits. The amount of weighta woman should gain depends on her height, body type, and pre-pregnancyweight. On an average, women who are carrying multiples only gainabout 10 more pounds than those carrying a single pregnancy.
Excessive Morning Sickness
About half of all pregnant women experience some form of morningsickness during their pregnancies. While some mothers of multiplesreport an increase in the severity of morning sickness, many do not.Just because a woman is pregnant with multiples does not mean thatshe will experience a double or triple dose of morning sickness.
Early or Frequent Fetal Movement
Although controversial within the medical community, some moms ofmultiples do report that they felt the baby move earlier than expected.It is also important to know that most women do experience earliermovement in subsequent pregnancies than in their first pregnancy.
While this can also be caused by stress, work, and responsibilities,it is also commonly reported by women who are pregnant with multiples.This may be associated with the mother’s body attempting toprovide nutrients to more than one baby.
History or Intuition
A multiples pregnancy can run in certain families while some mother’smay have an uncanny intuition that they are pregnant with multiples.
Remember that many of these signs can indicate that something elseis going on, and the only way to be 100% positive that you are carryingmultiples is through ultrasound confirmation.