Multiple-pregnancy can happen without the knowledge of the expecting mother. There are many reasons for multiple pregnancies such as high age of the pregnant women, or the use of assisted technology such as vitro fertilization for getting pregnant. Multiple-pregnancy not only increases the number of fetuses in the uterus but the symptoms of pregnancy such as weight gain and morning sickness is also very high.
Twin pregnancy may be formed when two eggs are fertilized separately in the womb and each fetus has its own sac, its own amniotic fluid and its individual placenta and these are called fraternal twins.
In case of identical twins, one egg may form two fetuses. These are identical twins and these may share amniotic sac and placenta. In case of identical twins, the babies may look alike and they may have same gender. But sometimes, the babies may be different in looks and it happens mostly in conjoined twins.
In case of more than two fetuses, the babies can either be identical or fraternal.
Chances of multiple-pregnancy are high in women belonging to following group:
1. Women above thirty-five years in age,
2. Women who have fraternal babies in mother's family,
3. Women who belongs to African descent,
4. Women who previously had fraternal babies,
5. Women who stopped the use of birth control pills.
Abdomen larger than normal: Expecting mothers who have a bigger abdomen in the first trimester as compared to other pregnant women can suspect of having multiple fetuses. Women, who have gained exceptionally high weight during the first trimester, may have more than one baby in her womb. In case of single baby, mother gains weight which is not more than ten to twenty pounds but if the mother carries more than one baby, the weight gain may be fifteen to twenty five pounds.
The mothers carrying multiple babies may find the size of the abdomen is bigger as compared to the gestation age of the fetus.
Ultrasound (Sound wave examination): Sound wave examination is used to detect the presence of multiple babies. The images generated by sound waves can be analyzed and the image shows amniotic fluids and the embryo sacs. Ultrasound can detect the presence of multiple babies after six weeks of pregnancy.
Blood test: Blood test of mother may be done to find out the level of Alpha-fetoprotein, which is released as the fetus grows inside the mother's womb. It can be done after sixteen to eighteen weeks and it is considered to be a best way to diagnose multiple-pregnancy.
Excessive morning sickness: Expecting mother may suffer from extreme fatigue and morning sickness as compared to mothers who are carrying single baby. Breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting sensation can be very high.
Fatigue: Mother's carrying multiple babies may feel more exhausted and lack physical energy.
Heartbeat: The brains and hearts of the babies develops first and in case of multiple babies, the medical practitioner can analyze the heart beats of the babies, to find out if the mother is carrying multiple babies or not.