It is without a doubt that giving birth can be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of a woman’s lifetime. The act of childbirth brings in a precious life and signifies a great accomplishment between a couple, that of responsibility, maturity, and unconditional love.
Childbirth also brings about great variability and uncertainty, and with that comes great responsibility. One of these areas is the question of whether or not a woman will give birth to twins. Twins are a common occurrence, representing over 1.5% of all births in the world. For this very reason, great curiosity is brought about between couples regarding the early signs of twins. Couples want to know beforehand if the woman is exhibiting any twin pregnancy symptoms, and if any preemptive action needs to be taken.
Interestingly, there are indeed three areas of a woman’s life that may be telltale signs of twins in her future.
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1. Pre-Destined Circumstances
While many women first look to their external appearances and internal body changes to determine whether or not it is likely that they will be giving birth to twins, there are actually certain pre-determined and genetic factors that have a much more influential bearing that deserve attention.
One of these factors is age. Many women who are over the age of 30 that attempt to have a baby will be much more likely to have twins due to higher chance of genetic duplication or mutation as we age.
Another factor is the health condition of the woman prior to trying. If a woman is overweight or overly tall, she is more likely to have twins as well. The medical history of the woman and her family plays a key role in birth outcomes. For example, if a woman is a twin or has a member of her family that has had twins, she more likely to have twins herself.
Along with these pre-determined factors, there are other odd characteristics that make twin pregnancy more likely, such as being African American or being previously pregnant, regardless of whether or not the child was a twin. At the end of the day, it is important that women take a serious look into not only their own medical history, but their family’s history as well, to determine if some of these pre-determining symptoms are at bay.
2. External/Physical Symptoms
One of the most commonly recognized and utilized ways of determining whether or not a woman will be pregnant and give birth to twins is by looking at her external physical appearance and behaviors. Despite its commonality, it is important to note that this category of symptoms is typically the least reliable as the external appearance of a woman can vary greatly with multiple different causes factoring into the outcome appearance.
However, there have been several correlations made between some physical symptoms and women who eventually end up giving birth to twins. One of these symptoms relates to an exaggeration of the typical symptoms of normal pregnancies. For example, many believe that being extremely nauseous as well as exhausted, more so than the typical amount when pregnant, can be a symptom of possibly having twins down the road. Another common symptom is being overly intolerant to certain foods such as fish and a dairy product is a common sign of twins forthcoming.
One of the most dreaded physical/external symptoms that women typically hold when carrying two children at the same time (more likely twins than not) is the rapid weight gain that comes with the large bulge in the woman’s stomach. This of course as a result, is accompanied with overeating and stress leading to even poorer diet and exercise choices, which can also play into the prediction that a woman should be expecting twins. Typically when two babies are in the womb at the same time they tend to cause these psychological and physiological changes in the body that can eventually cause these preference and behavior changes.
One external symptom that many women forget to check on is that there is clearly two babies in the womb, meaning that there are two human hearts beating. When listening very carefully, or with the assistance of an OBGYN who can use ultrasound technology to evaluate, one can hear two heartbeats beating slightly out of sync, meaning that there are two babies present. These might not be twins, but at least it gives a certain amount of probability that they are.
3. Internal/Medical Changes
The area of changes that a woman will experience that tends to be the most confidence-enlisting and empirically relevant when determining the likelihood of twins, is internal and medical changes that happen in the woman’s body.
The most popular of these is the woman’s menstrual cycle. Because there are two babies with the same needs inside the woman’s body when she is about to have twins, these babies take a much greater toll on the woman’s menstrual cycle than just one baby would. As a result, a woman may feel that her menstrual cycle is extremely irregular and that she will experience both heavier periods as well as harsher uterine cramping even if it is not a direct result of the period itself.
This is typically a sign that the uterus is expanding very rapidly and typically either means a very large singular baby or two babies expanding the uterus combined. Women also may notice that during their day they seem to lose their breath more and feel as if their heart has to work harder in order to power their bodies. This is due to the fact that both babies are taxing the mother’s nutritional energy and resources and thus the body has to work twice as hard to compensate.
While it is not entirely definitive and accurate, a blood test can be a great way to assess a woman’s likelihood of having twins in her womb versus just one child. Typically having two babies will cause a large spike in hCG in the blood very early on, whereas typically a woman will see a gradual rise in this test result. Of course the best symptom of having twins is physically seeing them move about in person using an ultrasound at the doctor’s office. Typically an OBGYN will be able to infer whether or not twins are likely by matching characteristics of the babies up upon examination.
4. It’s Anybody’s Guess
At the end of the day, it is clear that many of the methods and symptoms that determine the likelihood of having twins are not so concrete and are based on anecdotal evidence. But at least there is some slight inkling that can give women some ease women along the way of what they might be able to hope for.
All in all, the most important thing, twins or not, is that the women respond accordingly and nourish whatever may lie in her womb to ensure a safe and healthy labor.