You’ve had the usual pregnancy symptoms, done the tests, and gone for pregnancy ultrasounds – and now you have found out that you have a twin pregnancy. How do you feel? What are the differences between a single pregnancy and being pregnant with twins? And is there anything you need to do differently?
There are two main categories of twins – fraternal, or dizygotic twins, and identical twins. Fraternal twins are caused by two eggs being fertilised at the same time. Hence, you can have a boy and a girl, or two siblings who don’t resemble each other at all. Identical twins, on the other hand, come about when one egg splits into two. Identical twins conform to the stereotype of being so similar that you can’t tell them apart and being very close. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, can be so different that they are like any other pair of siblings. This is especially true if they are a boy and girl – they often end up going to different schools and do not share the same interests.
The genetic factor when conceiving twins is very much a matter of debate. The main known genetic factor is hyper ovulation, which could be the cause of fraternal twins and could indeed be inherited. Such a factor has not been established when it comes to identical twins. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that in some families twin births seem to be very common, while other families don’t seem to have any twins at all.
Another cause of twin births is the use of fertility drugs, and as fertility treatment develops more and more couples who may have never had children in the past end up giving birth to twins.
With the advent of ultrasound, more and more women find out that they are pregnant with twins sometime before they give birth. However, it is not true to say that this never happens to anyone anymore, because occasionally it still does even if it is rare.
But before you start worrying every time you get pregnant, there are some signs that make a twin pregnancy different.
First of all, the pregnancy hormones are somewhat stronger with twins, and you may experience pregnancy nausea more than you would have done when expecting one baby. However, that on its own is not always a guaranteed sign of twins, and women who are not so prone to morning sickness in general might not always feel it.
As time advances, the most obvious symptom is weight gain – this is faster and more radical. M