Several decades ago, no pregnant woman was aware about her expecting two or more babies until the very delivery. However, this kind of a surprise is an extremely rare phenomenon nowadays, as every woman usually becomes aware of her having more than one baby during the routine ultrasound procedure, which is conducted from time to time during the whole pregnancy period in order to follow the development of a fetus. As a rule it a woman finds out about her twins or more babies inside, already during the first pregnancy semester.
In case if your doctor notices that you seem to be unusually large for your gestation date, he or she will most likely appoint an ultrasound to be conducted. Of course, the reason for your big belly may not only be twins but some kind of a miscalculation of your conception date. In addition, it is the ultrasound, which will help you find out how far along you are and whether your belly’s size is such big because of your carrying more than one baby.
In case if you become pregnant in the result of some kind of fertility treatment, like Clomid, Gonadotropins, in vitro fertilization, etc, you will most likely have to conduct an ultrasound within first two months in order to count the amount of implanted embryos. It is only ultrasound, which is able to reveal any multiple pregnancies as early as six to eight weeks after the date of conception. However, you to understand, that the more babies you are carrying, the greater is the chance of overlooking of one.
How Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets, etc. are made !
It is possible to conceive more than one baby at a time, if:
Two or more eggs are released during the ovulation, or if there are two or more ovulations. All the eggs may get fertilized, and you will deliver fraternal twins, triplets, etc. This can occur even without using any fertility drugs, though they may be the result of multiple pregnancies as well;
It is also possible that one egg is released, but it divides in two. In this case, you will have two identical babies. This can also occur with or without using any fertility drugs;
If you have undergone the In Vitro Fertilization, you have high chances to be pregnant with more than one baby, because during this kind of a procedure doctors usually put more than three fertilized eggs into the uterus. As a rule, not all of them get attached to the wall of the uterus and begin to develop into a fetus, though it is also possible that sometimes they do.
Therefore, after you have conceived several embryos, there are lots of possibilities on placentas, implantation locations, number of amniotic sacs, etc. For instance, you may be expecting two babies and have two placentas and two amniotic sacs, or you may also have two babies, one placenta and two amniotic sacs. And you are to be aware, that it is extremely important to get to know as early as possible what kind of multiple pregnancies you are having exactly, especially, when it comes to amniotic sacs.
How do Your Twins End up Fraternal or Identical?
You are, of no doubt, aware, that twins may be either fraternal or identical. However, what does it depend on? Fraternal twins get developed from two woman’s eggs, which were released during the same ovulation period and they were fertilized with two different sperms at the same time. These kinds of twins are called dizygotic. However, identical children get developed from one and the same egg, which becomes fertilized by two different sperms, then splits into two parts and these twins are called monozygotic.
It is clear, that if two babies come to form the same egg, monozygotic twins share the same DNA, but, mostly these children are never completely identical. They do have the same genetic makeup, there are enough characteristics, distinguishing them one from another, and usually, their parents and close friends can easily tell them apart. It may be either because of some environmental conditions’ influence, either inside or outside the womb. It is also possible that some definite genes will be expressed in their own ways in each of the twins.
When and How Can You Get To Know If Your Babies are Dizygotic or Monozygotic?
There are some specific prenatal tests being conducted during the pregnancy period in order to get to know if there is anything wrong with the development of a fetus (es). These tests are chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis; and they can tell you without any problems, whether the babies, you are expecting are dizygotic or monozygotic. Though, it is of course quite difficult to perform with twins or triplets, and, doctors may not be able to receive a sample of the DNA of each baby.
In case if these kinds of tests are not for you, the simplest way to find out is to have an ultrasound conducted. The doctor will see if your babies are monozygotic or dizygotic by looking at whether there are one or two placentas and whether the babies are of the same gender.
It is also possible to undergo a trans – vaginal ultrasound somewhere between the 9th and 14th weeks of pregnancy, which will help you to get to know if you are expecting dizygotic or monozygotic twins with nearly 100% certainty. In case if you undergo this kind of ultrasound during the second pregnancy trimester, the accuracy of the result will be no more than 90%, because the uterus becomes more crowded.
Thus, if your babies have one placenta, it means that they are monozygotic twins, if there are two placentas, found in your uterus, you are expecting dizygotic twins. According to the investigations, conducted, your twins may be dizygotic as well as monozygotic, if there are two placentas, found. Though, all dizygotic twins and 20 – 30% of monozygotic twins have separate placentas for each.
Somewhere during the period between the 18th to 20th weeks of the pregnancy, your doctor may be able to tell you your babies’ genders, in case if they are positioned in such a way, that the doctor will be able to have a look at their genitals. If the ultrasound shows you that you are expecting a boy and a girl, it is clear, that the twins are dizygotic, as monozygotic twins are almost always of the same sex.