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!

Tags: triplets

recommended for you


Ebrahem September 26, 2013
This book is the ONLY one I needed, agluohth I had others including the terrible What to Expect book. This book is a treat to read. Dr. Sears takes a positive approach so there's none of that alarmist tone that tends to find its way into so many books and conversations around the pregnant woman.By the time it was D-Day for me, I truly believed that my delivery would go well and that I was ready for it. As a first time mom, I needed the affirmations found throughout this book that my body would do what it was supposed to do, and that I would be strong enough to go with whatever the day brought. The emphasis is on non-intervention and natural childbirth, but all of the possible interventions are discussed as well. Dr. Sears also writes about how interventions happen to the unsuspecting mom, and how to avoid them. I found it very empowering to have some information to bring to my doctor when discussing issues such as epidurals and episiotomy. I felt my positions regarding these personal choices were more respected because I had the information to back up my feelings. The monthly format of the book is great. It's one of the few books I've found which treats the ninth month as the 8 week month it really can be. I highly recommend this book to others and think it would make a great gift, too, since it's not preachy.