Multiple Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Got more than one bundle of joy on the way? Your pregnancy's bound to be different from a single-baby pregnancy. Here are the answers to your most pressing questions if you’re expecting twins or other multiples.

At What Point Can a Multiple Pregnancy Be Confirmed?

Multiples can be detected as early as week six using ultrasound. Whether you’re expecting twins, triplets, or even more, your healthcare provider will be able to distinguish each baby's heartbeat.

How Did I Become Pregnant With Multiples?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) and some fertility drugs can increase the chance of multiple babies, as can a family history of twins.

A multiple or twin pregnancy can mean either identical or fraternal babies. In a higher-order multiple (HOM) pregnancy, there may be both identical and fraternal babies in the same pregnancy.

Identical babies are conceived when one fertilized egg splits into two or more embryos. In cases of fraternal babies, two or more eggs are fertilized simultaneously, resulting in more than one embryo.

How Similar Will My Babies Be?

Identical babies have the same gender and can be nearly identical in appearance, but they may be different in terms of personality. Fraternal babies are just like any other set of siblings — they will look different, can be different genders, and have their own personalities.

How Is a Multiple Pregnancy Different?

You may feel fine, but carrying twins or other multiples is automatically a high-risk pregnancy. You'll likely be referred to a specialist and have more prenatal visits, blood tests, and ultrasounds than you would with a singleton pregnancy.

Compared to a singleton pregnancy, you might notice more morning sickness, greater exhaustion and discomfort, and a belly that gets larger sooner. For more information, check out our twin week-by-week guide.

What Are the Risks of a Multiple Pregnancy?

The risk of premature delivery is higher in a multiple pregnancy. Calculate your approximate due date, but keep in mind your little gang might arrive early, possibly before 36 weeks. In this case, your babies might need special assistance with breathing or sucking for a while.

Each baby tends to be smaller in a multiple pregnancy. Sometimes identical babies are in the same amniotic sac, which increases the risk of a baby becoming tangled in one of the umbilical cords. Another risk is twin-twin transfusion syndrome, where one baby gets too much blood flow and the other baby doesn't get enough. Your doctor will discuss with you how to overcome these challenges.

How Do I Prepare if I’m Pregnant With Multiples?

Your most important tasks are to take care of yourself, go to all your prenatal visits, and rest up.

The more babies you’re expecting, the more names you’ll have to come up with. This is the fun part, especially with our Baby Name Generator on hand to help.

Make sure you get ready with plenty of time to spare. This can mean stocking up on sets of everything from car seats to cribs, clothes and diapers; babyproofing your home sooner; and getting your hospital bags packed nice and early.

It’s normal to feel apprehensive about expecting two or more babies. After all, you’ll have to be prepared, focused, and physically fit to take care of more than one newborn at once. But, although multiple babies will mean more of everything, remember, your growing family will be a whole lot of fun too, with more children bringing love into your life.

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