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Symptoms and Diagnosis of Multiple Pregnancy

What are the symptoms of multiple pregnancy?

The following are the most common symptoms of multiple pregnancy. However, each woman may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of multiple pregnancy may include:

  • Uterus is larger than expected for the dates in pregnancy

  • Increased morning sickness

  • Increased appetite

  • Excessive weight gain, especially in early pregnancy

  • Fetal movements felt in different parts of abdomen at same time

How is multiple pregnancy diagnosed?

Many women suspect they are pregnant with more than one baby, especially if they have been pregnant before. Diagnosis of multiple fetuses may be made early in pregnancy, especially if reproductive technologies have been used. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnosis may be made by:

  • Pregnancy blood testing
    Levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) may be quite high with multiple pregnancy.
  • Alpha-fetoprotein
    Levels of a protein released by the fetal liver and found in the mother's blood may be high when more than one fetus is making the protein.

  • Ultrasound
    A diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels - with a vaginal transducer, especially in early pregnancy, or with an abdominal transducer in later pregnancy.

     

    Illustration of a transabdominal ultrasound procedure

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