Stressed about having a multiple birth?

If the thought of having twins, triplets, or even more is proving a worry, we’ve got all the info you need

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With one in every 65 pregnancies resulting in a multiple birth, it’s not a given that just because there are no twins in your family, you won’t have them. Debbie Ross from the Twins and Multiple Births Association says, “The older a mum you are, the more likely you are to have twins, and also if you’ve had twins before. Fertility treatment and IVF also increases the likelihood, as more than one embryo is implanted into the womb.”

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So whether you suspect it’s going to be you, or you already know, here’s the what, why and how of having more than one.

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It is possible to have twins by different fathers

How did that happen?!

Twins are formed pretty much at the moment of conception, when, or just after, the egg and sperm meet.

  • Identical twins develop when a fertilised egg splits in two.
  • Non-identical twins result from two separate eggs being fertilised by two sperm at the same time.
  • For triplets, quads, and so on, it’s the same process with one or more egg being fertilised.
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A healthy weight gain in pregnancy is important – being too underweight or overweight when pregnant comes with risks.

When will I find out I’m having multiples?

You might have a suspicion beforehand, but most mums find out at the 12-week scan. “The symptoms of pregnancy can be magnified, such as rapid weight gain, morning sickness and fatigue,” says Delyth Raffell, founder of TwinsUK.

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Can you tell the difference?

How can I find out if they’re identical?

The test for ‘identicalness’ is officially called zygosity determination. An ultrasound at 10-14 weeks might confirm identical twins. Or at birth, an examination of the placenta can reveal the zygosity. “Identical twins share 100% of their DNA and a simple test using a swab from their cheek cells has 99.99% reliability,” says Delyth. Zygosity testing isn’t routine, so if your hospital doesn’t do it, you can pay for a private test that costs around £80.

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Celine revealed she was pregnant with triplets, but one tragically died.

Are twins born smaller?

For the first 26 weeks your twins will develop at exactly the same rate as a single baby, although they may be smaller. Twins often start out at different sizes and grow at different rates to each other. It’s only a problem if they start off the same size and one suddenly starts to develop more slowly. If so, you’ll be scanned more frequently and, depending on the health of you and your twins, they may be delivered early.

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