Scans and antenatal tests in twin and multiple pregnancy

When you are expecting twins you will be offered more ultrasound scans than with a singleton. You might have scans at 6,12,16,20,24,28,32,35 wks with twins. It largely depends on where you are, and how you are and your twins are progressing.

You might find that if you’re having identical twins you get scanned weekly or fortnightly (or even daily depending on your individual circumstances) towards the end of your pregnancy.

You will also be scanned more frequently if your twins are not growing at the expected rate.It can be possible to tell whether or not your twins are identical through ultrasound scans. It can also be possible to tell whether your twins are going to be both girls, both boys or one of each! Scans are particularly vital if you’re having monochorionic twins as it checks for Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

You may also be offered a Nuchal Translucency Scan Some areas have an optional nuchal translucency scan available. This should be done at 11-14 weeks and takes measurement of the fluid in the back of the neck using detailed ultrasound technology. It can give some idea of the likelihood of your twin having Downs Syndrome (triosomy-21). It is personal choice whether or not to have it done. In some areas you might have to pay a fee.

You will be offered a range of screening tests including the Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test at around 16-18 weeks gestation. This is to help detect signs of a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. Discuss with your health team how the results will be affected by your multiple pregnancy as it can come back with a false positive result due to the fact you’re having twins/ triplets.You may also be offered the Triple test.

This measures hormones in the body such as human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and oestriol.  It can help assess the likelihood of your babies having down’s syndrome.Attend your antenatal appointmentsYou will be expected to provide a urine sample at each appointment. This is enables your urine to be screened for signs of protein, sugar, infection and keytones. It can also be useful in detecting gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

You will also have your weight checked to ensure that you have not suddenly gained lots of weight. Your fundal height will also be measured to make sure that you bump is growing at a reasonably steady rate. You will have your blood pressure checked as raised blood pressure can indicate the onset of pre-eclampsia so it is important to have this checked regularly. Your midwife will also want to listen to the babies heart beats too.

 It is vital that you keep your antenatal appointments.

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