Twins: how early can you tell?

Pregnant with twins

Think you might be pregnant with twins?

The routine use of ultrasound now means that women can find out early on in their pregnancy if they are carrying twins.

Typically the first scan happens at around 12 weeks pregnant, but in some situations an earlier scan may be done, especially if the women has undergone IVF or experienced miscarriage in previous pregnancies.

From a scan doctors can look at the development of the placenta and its membranes to see if they are identical or not. Non-identical (fraternal) twins develop their own placentas but identical ones can share, or have their own, depending on when the fertilised egg splits.

Because of the rise in earlier scans vanishing twin syndrome has also been discovered. This is when a woman conceives twins but one isn’t viable so it dies in utero. The vanishing twin is partially or completely absorbed by the mother or twin.

The expert view

Patrick O’Brien, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a consultant obstetrician at the University College Hospital, London, says: “It’s virtually impossible for the woman to tell herself if she’s carrying twins so it’s based on the scan and the earliest is about six weeks of pregnancy.

Women may have an early scan if there’s a bit of bleeding or pain in early pregnancy or if they’ve had fertility treatment or a miscarriage before. “Vanishing twin syndrome is when you conceive twins but at a very early stage one fails to develop so that it just disappears. So you might see twins at an early scan but then later not; it’s more known about these days because women have such early scans. The disappearing twin occurs in the first eight to 10 weeks. It doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects on the remaining child as far as we can tell but there haven’t been any big, long term studies on it.”

A mum’s view

Louise Roche, mother to Anna and Emily, says: “I never really thought I’d have twins although my grandfather is a twin. I had a scan at nine weeks because I was suffering very badly from morning sickness and then they told me I was expecting twins. I already had a one year old so I was worrying about how I’d cope but my mum was with me and she was overjoyed so I quickly got excited too.”


hi im 34yrs old have 3kids 10, 7, 3 also preg 30wks with twin boys non identical im slim build and carrying two babies is very hard on my back and ribs r killing me iwas shocked at first now i really cant wait dont know when hav boys i always had babies 36wks and they al weighed 5lb + so these babies will b small to goodluck anyone having twins.
hi all this is my 4th pregnancy, my 1st dd is nearly 9 my 2nd dd was sadly stillborn and my 3rd ds is nearly 4. I found out i was pregnant 9 days before period was due. had 2 blood test also to confirm i was pregnant. im 5 weeks and 5 days today and have a scan on weds (6 weeks preg). my ds keeps telling me im having baby twins, a boy and girl also corrects you when you tell him its just 1 baby. i have been extremely tired since finding out to the point i wake up in the morning to do school run and by the time i get back im nodding off on sofa. i also cant wear my trousers or jeans any more so have had to buy maternity jeans already or wear leggings/jogging bottoms. i've not had any sickness yet but felt a sort of hungry sick quite often. also put on 4/5 lbs in 2 weeks. anyone else had these symptoms. my maternal nan was a twin so they are in the family and even she thinks im having twins lol. x
having gone for scan at 12 weeks and told expecting identical twins sharing one placenta was a shock as im 16...but at scan yesterday at 14 weeks one has died,and at present is still there with its thumb in its mouth,i have to have scans fortnightly now to check things going ok.x
I HAD A HUNCH IT WAS TWINS! This is my first pregnancy. My belly started expanding as soon as I found out I was pregnant (around 5 weeks). Also I had really sore breasts, which enlarged by a couple of sizes within a few weeks - but luckily I've had no morning sickness. Very early on, my appetite increased enormously but I only ate when I was hungry (which seemed to be most of the time!) and - apart from the odd chocolate biscuit once in a while - I found myself craving wholesome foods like hummus or bananas. I have been extremely fatigued, to the point of finding it impossible to wake up/get out of bed when my alarm went off, and falling asleep in the afternoons - I just couldn't seem to keep my eyes open. I also developed acne on my chin, neck and back very early on - I've not really suffered with acne before so I guessed there must be some strong hormones raging! I got my dates slightly out as my periods are a bit irregular so went for a scan thinking I was 12 weeks along, when in fact I was only 10 weeks. I found out then that I am carrying twins! They could be identical or non-identical; we won't know until they're born and develop facial characteristics - unless they're boy/girl (which are always non-ID). Funnily enough, before the scan I already had an inkling it was twins, because even though I've not been pregnant before I didn't think I should be showing and starting to wear maternity clothes at only 6/7 weeks gone! I'm a size 8 so my bump is very prominent - I look around 6 months even though I'm still only 15 weeks now :) I am taking iron supplements which seem to be helping with the fatigue - although the downside is the side-effect of constipation. It's either one thing or another, it seems...! :( I fainted in the supermarket earlier this week. Thankfully the checkout lady caught me before I hit the deck and she called a paramedic. My blood pressure and blood sugar level were both tested and seem fine, so I've been told it's just "one of those things" that happens in pregnancy, especially with twins. I'm now taking things much more steadily - basically shuffling around like an old lady who's lost her walking stick! There are twins in my husband's family but none on my side, so I guess it might be my age (35) that's caused nature to hurry us along a little by giving us two little ones, who were naturally conceived. I am no expert, and of course everyone is different, but in my case: first pregnancy + early and rapid bump growth = twins. Sorry ladies for this long post, but I wanted to share my experience in case it helps anyone. Good luck to everyone with your pregnancies - I've been advised to remember: it is a marathon, not a sprint, so try and take it easy and don't be too hard on yourself!! xxx
hiyaaaa I went for my scan yesterday im exactly 12 weeks and 1 day and its twins!!!!1 I nearly died of shock. I have not had any increased symptoms yet or anything. my partners dads a twin still didn't expect it to happen to me tho lol :) xxx
Hi i have just turned 28 yesterday, have my 12 week scan Monday 4th March, but had an early scan and i am carrying twins. Non-identicle and im so happy. Nausea has gone and am now looking forward to seeing how my little babies are getting on. So excited!! :-) xxx
Hi Everyone, im 11 weeks and 4 days pregnant and this is my first pregnancy and i have had a bump since i was around 5 weeks, i have had no morning sickness or anything just really sore and bigger breast, I have twins on both sides of my family and everyone is convinced that I am having twins and i am really hopw for twins now, has anyone else experianced the same as me? Thanks x
Hi i am 28 this is my first so i am unsure what to expect. i am 7 weeks and i have a very obvious bump to the point everyone have guesse ii am preggers. Myself and my partner have twins in our family. Would me showing so much so early b a sign i have 2 rather than 1 baby. thank u
Hi all, i am currently pregnant for the second time, i did a clear blue digital two weeks after ovulation and the test came back saying pregnant - 3 weeks +. right away i was bloated, and so so sick. I was sick with my son, now 3.5yrs but nothing this intesnse. I had a lot of pain, on my lower left hand side and so extreamly tired. I went to book in to the midwife and told her about the pain, she wasnt sure if i was misscarrying , so she booked in for a scan. All of my friends at work kept joking saying there isnt only one in there, as i look about 4 months pregnant and i was about 9 weeks. Went for my scan and sure enough there are two little babies. 10 weeks and one day!!! they are not sure if they are identical or not so im back on the 29th Nov to have another scan with a Multiple birth doctor who will confirm this. My advise to you is listen to your body, especially if not your first pregnancy, if you feel you are having twins, you actually may be. i had it in the back of my mind since the home test as i thought is should have said 1 - 2weeks, not 3weeks + so....... Good luck, please keep me posted!! x
Hello everyone, after reading all the posts I'm actually a little nervous! I have a 5year old girl and a 2year old girl and I'm expecting again! I'm about 6weeks gone but I can't help but think I'm expecting Twins... My aunties are twins so would there be a chance I will be? I already feel big, my breasts feel really fuller already?
i concieved with my third after coming of the pill, i have 2boys already and this was going to be my last pregnancy. im 24years old and had my 12week scan friday 2nd nov.... well turns out their twins :) i had a feeling this pregnancy was worse and something was telling me theres 2 and it also explains the sore boobs, sickness and pains..theyve been that bad this time round i even said to the hubby its either girl or twins!! lol so when i had my scan all i kept saying was i told you so :) have another scan 27th dec so might be able to see what sex they are..so excited but scared at the same time
Hi I'm 39 years old and 9wks and 4 this is my third I didn't really show with my 2 other girls but this time I look 4mths I've gone up to sizes and my boobs are masive ! Twins run in mine and my partners family dose that mean I could have twins ?
Went for an early scan yesterday at 10 weeks pregnant with my first child or so I thought... Found out I'm 8weeks with twins!! At 5ft2 and under 8 stone I'm terrified of how/if I'll cope with the pregnancy yet soooo excited! No twins in either family!? X
Hi, I am 13 weeks preg and having my dating scan in a couple of days. I have had a feeling since very early in the pregnancy that I am carrying twins but will soon know for sure. I am a fraturnal twin myself and so have a higher chance of having twins. Keep switching between hoping for twins and being terrified that it is twins. I think the not knowing makes it all much worse. Good luck to all you mums to be!
I'm 6 weeks pregnant - I have a 2 year old boy already and unfortunately have suffered a miscarriage in the past so still nervous. I'm starting to show now (I did show around 10 weeks with my son) and it's obv. difficult to hide it til I have the 12 week scan. As my father is a non-identical twin I'm wondering? Is anyone else having the same issues?
Hi, I am 6weeks pregant and look like i am 3mths. im a little worried. is it water attention or could i be carrying twins? please help. I also feel very unwell and getting cramps. Thanks,
Hi, I am 6weeks pregant and look like i am 3mths. im a little worried. is it water attention or could i be carrying twins? please help. I also feel very unwell and getting cramps. Thanks,
hi all, im 11 weeks pregnant now with my 2nd child but im huge already!! im more tired than i have ever felt. my patners family have 2 sets of twins and a set of triplets so i am now wondering if maybe i have more than 1 in there?! i had a scan at 6 weeks but dont know if its possible twins can be missed that early?xx
hi all i am pregnant with twins after haveing ivf i am 9 weeks and 5 and have been showing for weeks i look bout 4 months i ave put it down to the drugs i was on (for the ivf) and the fact its twins but maybe a bit of water retention cos im not weeein that much lol! any ideas? xx
Hi all i had a boy 6 yrs ago and set of twins 5 yrs ago and just found out im six week pregnant again i have already gone up a cup size and been so tired both my nans are twins and my nan had 2 sets of twins what do you think???
Hi all i had a boy 6 yrs ago and set of twins 5 yrs ago and just found out im six week pregnant again i have already gone up a cup size and been so tired both my nans are twins and my nan had 2 sets of twins what do you think???
Hi guys, I found out i was pregnant about four weeks ago but was on the mini pill so never had periods, weirdly in four weeks my tummy has swollen, looks as though im 4 - months pregnant, Family and friends keep mentioning it looks like im carrying twins, as it runs in my family (i have twin brothers) i am off to see my midwife tomorrow should i mention this tomorrow and also what will the ydo about finding how far i am? its so fustrating as i have mentioned it to work but cant arrange anything as i really dont have the slightest of clue how far i am. xXxXx
I found out i was expecting twins at a scan at 5weeks, which i had because id had a bleed. They did say that at that point neither of them had heartbeats so it was too early to tell if they would survive. I had another scan at 8 weeks and they both had heartbeats so i felt alot better but it was after the 12 week scan that i finally felt they were going to be fine so i could tell people.
hey guys im almost 9 wks and look about 7 mths the nausea and sickness are unbearable this is my 4th child now and ive never felt so rough or tired in my life i have 3 children and lost 3 previous to this baby and wen we had and early scan the baby was small but the heartbeat was sooo strong im wondering if i too am expecting twins my cousin just had identical twins and my other cousin her brother has twin identical girls im nervous but excited only time will tell x
HI, I'm 6wks +5 this is my first pregnancy my boobs have gone up a cup size already and cannot fit into any of my Jeans. A couple of friends have said how big my belly is. My mum was a twin and i know that twins and triplets are in family would be great to have twins :)
this is my 3rd pregnancy, but this one feels weird, im only 6 weeks but already im showing, which feels strange as im only slim and didnt start to show in any way with the other two untill i was around 5 mths. any advice? x
I'm only 11ks and due to my past I've already had to scan's, problem is I'M massive already, I've gone from 9st 3 to 11st 1 already I look six mths gone, twins run in my partners family, I'm hoping a see twin's next week, because if I dont I'm worried about how big I already am.
I am now 6 weeks pregnant after trying for 12 years and everything is different. I am extremely bloated already and look like I did at 4 months last time. Feel really nauseous all day long - not good when trying to run a household!! Twins does run in my family and I would be over the moon if this was the case. Just concerned at being bloated to early on in the pregnancy!!!
twins run in my family i had a scan at 6 weeks and they said the heartbeat was very strong they have neva seen such a strong heartbeat at such an early stage.....i wanted to ask but i was in and out so fast ...could this be im havin twins and the are in the same sack....im havin another scan in a weeks times but i was just wondering could anyone give me advices? x
Found out on Friday im expecting same sex twins, I am 9weeks 4days...And im in total shock!!
Im on my 3rd pregnancy, already have one set of twins! Im 8 weeks and feeling huge, so sick and so tired! Have a feeling it might be twins again just wanna find out now!!!
i had an early scan and was told there was twins, but after having my dating scan yesterday i was told theres only 1 now, which really quite upset me but the remaining baby is healthy iv been told so thats the main thing! it was a day of mixed emotions and im just looking forward march when we can finally meet our little one :)
same with me happen i am carring twins before i a worried about twins but later i am excited too.
I had vanishing twin syndrome in my 2nd pregnancy, I had a sense that I was carrying twins early in my pregnancy but at 8 weeks i experienced a lot of pain and the sense of twins stopped. At my 12 week scan there was only 1 baby and an empty sack next to her. She went on to develop fine and my pregnancy went full term. I've since had another set of twins which were found at 8 weeks.
Im on 3rd pregnancy and had bloated tummy before I even knew I was pregnant, im almost 10 weeks now and growing fast, shattered most of the time, sore slightly leaking boobs but not much sickness. Dr said I look very big but all feels normal, they cant really tell until scan. I in maternity already!!!
This is 3rd pregnancy and so different from the other 2, absolutely convinced it's twins!!
Hi all Had an early scan today its my first baby and found out it could be twins, am really scared and excited!! Now just read about this vanishing twin thing so need to wait till my dating scan to find out for sure. Only two weeks to go!..
can one twin hide behind the other as i am big for 13 week chaz x
I'm more than nine weeks pregnant and I had bleeding about a week ago and up till now, I'm still having blood stains on my pant every morning, though I've gone for scan and there was no cause of the bleeding according to them. What is my state now?
I read that twins become more common the older you are and the more pregnancies you've had, don't know whether that's true or not but apparently that counts even if you don't have twins in your family. I also read that twins are even more likely when you have twins on your mother's side.
hi im 11wks preg to my 2nd child,i found out i was pregnant at 5wks & startd spotting at 6& hlf wks,so i had an early scan at 7wks, becoz id previously had a miscarriage b4, but had no monthly inbetween losing and falling agen,so needed to be sure i was or what was happening,& id been putting on weight rather rapid etc. At my scan they found i was expecting twins,(i have twin cousins and twin 2nd cousins on my dads side) though the scan only found 1 heartbeat,i was amazed i was pregnant at all so soon,especially with what woud have been twins, i got told the 2nd non viable sac could dissintergrate or could come away with a bleed,which i wasnt looking forward 2..fortunatly i had no more probs. I went 4 a re-scan at 10wks last week & theirs no sign of the 2nd sac apart from a fluid filled line, but my other little 1 is doing well,with a good strong heartbeat,and woudnt stop wriggling,it was so cute :) i was so worried when they said i could bleed agen with the 2nd sac coming away,& thought it would jeapardise the surviving little 1,but thankfully so far its all been ok apart from suffering from nausea & tiredness 24/7,something i didnt have with my 4yr old lil boy, &i look 5mnths wot with putting on about half a stone in weight alreadyl..most of it on my boobs,lol :) I cant wait to see my little 1 agen 4 my 13wk dating scan in 2wks. hope everything goes well 4 u all! :) sam x
My scan is next week, and there is no twins in my family or my husband. I really want to have twins but maybe that's impossible. :)
Hi all, this is my first pregnancy. I have my first scan next week. All my friends and family are saying 'could be twins'. As I am rather large to only be 11 weeks gone and my boobs have gone up 2 sizes already. Their have been twins in my family for many generations on both my mum and dads side of the family. So am very interested and excited to find out. Either way I will be very happy. :o)
i've bin reading all your comments getting very worried now as i am 7 weeks pregnant but look about 3 months twins and triplets run in my family at least one set every year or two as were a big family any advice on how to cope with us being quite young we've only just come to terms with having one baby two or three is a little bit scary my scan is in 2 weeks cant wait to find out x
i've bin reading all your comments getting very worried now as i am 7 weeks pregnant but look about 3 months twins and triplets run in my family at least one set every year or two as were a big family any advice on how to cope with us being quite young we've only just come to terms with having one baby two or three is a little bit scary my scan is in 2 weeks cant wait to find out x
I'm 9 weeks pregnant and a first time mother to be, saw the midwife yesterday and been told i'm at high risk of having twins- my partner is a twin and my grandmother was a twin.. Guess i need to brace myself!
omg i have just read every1's comments and now i am really worried as every1 keeps joking i am having twins especially my 5yr old daughter!! my late maternal grandfather was a twin and my cousin on maternal side also was expecting twins at xmas but sadly lost them early on :(. i am huge at only 12wks scan nxt wk am very anxious 2 know if there is 1 or 2 babies in there lol x
I'm a twin also, and I'm wondering myself if I will have twins, I am nearly 7 weeks and I'm looking forward to my 1st scan. I sadly suffered a miscarriage last year so hoping all goes well this time, I feel a little anxious, but very positive about this pregnancy, I was just wondering if I will get extra scans as I have had a loss in the past? thanks.
Im a twin i've got a twin brother! So wondering if im going 2 have them!.. My 1st scan is in 2 wks... x
I have the smae kind of stories as the others, i came off the implant april 2011, had a very minor bleed late may and nothing since, found out i was pregnant 3 weeks ago, I am anywhere between 6 and 10 weeks now. But i look about 20-25 weeks. Found out today my grandmother was a twin (one still born) and we know nothing about my OH family as he was adopted. I have got my midwife booking in appointment on monday and hopefully she will shed some light on the situation.....Wish Me Luck!! And good luck to all you ladies! xxx