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Symptoms and Diagnosis of Multiple Pregnancy

What are the symptoms of multiple pregnancy?

Each woman may have slightly different symptoms. But the most common symptoms of multiple pregnancy are:

  • Uterus is larger than expected for the dates in pregnancy

  • More morning sickness

  • Greater appetite

  • Too much weight gain, especially in early pregnancy

  • Fetal movements felt in different parts of the stomach at the same time

How is multiple pregnancy diagnosed?

Many women suspect they are pregnant with more than 1 baby. The healthcare provider may diagnose multiple fetuses early in pregnancy. This is especially true if fertility treatments were used. The provider may make the diagnosis with a health history, physical exam, and the following tests:

  • Pregnancy blood testing. Levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (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 1 fetus is making the protein.

  • Ultrasound. This is an imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds can be done with a vaginal transducer, especially in early pregnancy. Or they can be done with an abdominal transducer in later pregnancy.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
  • Sacks, Daniel, MD, FACOG