When Does a Woman Get Pregnant With Twins?
Ideally, a woman’s body follows a regular cycle that operates around 28 days. Of these days, there are only six in which a woman can become pregnant. These are the five days before a woman ovulates, where her Fallopian tube releases an egg that will travel to her uterus, and also the first 24 hours after a woman ovulates. If when she ovulates there is a live sperm present, the sperm can ideally fertilize the egg.
There are some instances where a woman is more likely to carry twins. For example, as a woman ages, she is more likely to have twins. This is because hormonal changes will cause a woman’s body to release more than one egg at a time. As a result, she is more likely to carry twins. Other signs that a woman may be more likely to carry twins include
- In Vitro Fertilization: Often simply called “in vitro,” this assistive reproductive technology is a method where a fertilized embryo is placed in a woman’s uterus with hopes for implantation. Often in the in vitro process, a doctor will implant more than one embryo into the uterus to increase a woman’s chances for conception. According to the Mayo Clinic, this increases the likelihood for a twins or other multiples pregnancy.
- Family history of twins: Those with a family history of fraternal twins are more likely to have twins as well. However, there are not likely to have identical twins as identical twins occur due to a random splitting of the embryo.
- Women who are taller than average: According to Huggies, women who are taller than average are more likely to be pregnant with twins. Women who are average height or shorter are less likely to have twins.
- Women who have been pregnant before: Women who’ve already been pregnant are at higher likelihood for having twins. Doctors don’t know exactly why this is. However, a woman would be older in subsequent pregnancies.
Often, a woman will not recognize that she is pregnant until she misses her period. However, there may be some signs before this occurs that she is pregnant. Often, they are very subtle and may be recognized only after she is further along in her pregnancy.
Women who are pregnant with multiples will produce greater hormone levels to support not one, but two growing babies. While mothers of twins are not guaranteed to experience double the morning sickness (or morning sickness at all), feeling nauseous can be one of the first symptoms a woman may be pregnant. Sometimes women who are pregnant with multiples will experience increased morning sickness compared with women who are not. Unfortunately, they’re also at greater risk to experience a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum where they have almost intractable nausea and vomiting and may require hospitalization for intravenous fluids to help a woman feel less ill. This is the same illness that led to two hospitalizations for Princess Catherine (Kate) of England whose public struggle with illness led to the early announcement of her pregnancies.
However, it’s difficult to predict just who will have more severe morning sickness with twins and who will not. Fortunately, morning sickness does not usually last beyond the first trimester. Even if a woman experiences severe nausea before she misses her first period, the nausea usually subsides with changes in hormones.
Fatigue is a common early pregnancy symptom a woman experiences. This may be difficult to recognize because women of childbearing years often have many responsibilities to work, school, and/or friends and family. Women who are pregnant with twins will commonly experience a greater degree of fatigue due to the additional requirements in terms of energy for fostering the growth of twins. As a general rule, women pregnant with twins must eat an extra 300 calories a day for each baby they are carrying. This is 600 extra calories of nutritional needs.
Elevated hCG Levels
Also known as human chorionic gonadotropin, hCG is one of the major hormones of pregnancy that helps to sustain a pregnancy until the placenta takes over the majority of hormone production. When an expectant mom takes her first at-home pregnancy test, the test is measuring the amount of hCG levels in her urine. When a woman is pregnant with twins, her hCG levels will be much higher than that of a woman who is pregnant with only one baby. While this isn’t a symptom that a mother can necessarily tell, a doctor can conduct a blood test that may identify the higher levels of hCG. However, it is possible that a woman may have higher hCG levels and be pregnant with only one baby, just as it’s possible a woman with average levels can be pregnant with two.
Extreme Breast Tenderness
Women pregnant with twins may experience early-onset breast tenderness – possibly even before they miss their period. The increased hormones due to pregnancy at higher levels for multiples can increase the likelihood that a woman will have breast tenderness. Sometimes, a woman may have difficulty wearing a bra with underwire. Women pregnant with multiples may find they need to wear a bra that does not have underwire or a bandeau-style top may be more comfortable.
What Symptoms Will a Woman Pregnant With Twins Experience?
Women who are pregnant with twins can expect to experience many symptoms faster in many instances. These can include morning sickness, fatigue, breast tenderness, and elevated hormone levels. Because she is growing two babies, the symptom onset may be more extreme. However, there are many more changes to come for a woman pregnant with multiples that will begin after she misses her first period and beyond. However, sometimes the most significant early symptom is a mother’s intuition that she may be having twins. Some women report having a feeling their pregnancy would lead to twins, even at a very early stage.
American Pregnancy Association: Signs & Symptoms of Multiple Pregnancy
Huggies: Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
Mayo Clinic: Twin Pregnancy: What Multiples Mean for Mom