Early Signs of Twins

For women who have been trying to conceive, especially for women who have been using fertility treatments or medications, finding out that you are pregnant is an extremely exciting time. Many women, once they become pregnant, may wonder if they are going to have twins. This is especially true for women whose fertility treatments tend to produce twin or multiple pregnancies. There are certain early signs that a woman can watch for to see if she may be pregnant with twins.

One of the early signs of a twin pregnancy is that other signs of pregnancy might be exaggerated. The extra hormones that a woman who is pregnant with twins has can make breasts even more tender, make you more tired, make you need to urinate even more frequently, and, unfortunately, cause more morning sickness or nausea.

Another sign of a twin pregnancy is rapid weight gain in the first trimester. This is normal and common for women who are pregnant with twins or multiples. Measuring large for gestational age, in which your health care provider determines that your uterus is larger than usual for how far along in pregnancy you are can be another early sign of a twin pregnancy.

Women who are pregnant with twins often have elevated levels of a protein released by the baby called AFP, or alpha fetoprotein. In addition, you will probably have rapidly rising levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, or hCG for short, which is a hormone produced by the fertilized egg and used to help your pregnancy while the placenta is developing.

One of the most reliable signs that you are carrying twins is the presence of multiple heartbeats. At around 12 weeks of pregnancy, your health care provider will be able to do a Doppler test, in which he may be able to distinguish two heartbeats. An ultrasound can also reliably reveal whether or not you are carrying twins. At around six weeks of pregnancy, a skilled technician can find two embryos, two heartbeats, and two sacs.

Finally, many women just know when they are pregnant with twins. While intuition is not scientifically reliable, a woman’s ability to know her own body cannot be discounted.

How Does an Ultrasound Work for Determining Gender?


While there are many ways that you can try to predict your baby’s gender – some of which work, others of which are based on myth – one of the most reliable methods is of course the ultrasound. Short of advanced procedures such as amniocentesis or genetic sampling, an ultrasound is the one medical way that you can know your baby’s gender. If  you understand how an ultrasound works, you can better understand exactly why this is a reliable way to let you know your baby’s gender.

An ultrasound creates a visual representation of the landscape inside of your womb. Doctors will usually use an ultrasound at about 8 weeks of pregnancy in order to allow you to see your baby’s heart rate. Doctors use ultrasounds to measure your baby’s size, and to track her growth. In some cases, a doctor may use an ultrasound to try to see if there are any abnormal aspects to your baby’s growth and development.

How a health care professional uses an ultrasound to determine your baby’s gender will determine, in part, whether you get any results, or accurate results. Generally speaking, the person operating the ultrasound is looking for the presence of male or female genitalia. If they are able to find a penis, they will predict your baby’s gender will be male. If they see the labia, they will predict that your baby is a girl.

It’s important to understand that most health care professionals aren’t going to simply assume that your baby is a girl just because they can’t locate a penis on the ultrasound. Without seeing the labia, a technician or a doctor isn’t going to tell you that you’re having a girl. If you’re unsure, of course, ask whether the health care professional actually sees genitalia.

Whether or not your health care provider can determine your baby’s gender with an ultrasound depends on a number of factors. In particular, how your baby is positioned will determine, to a large degree, whether or not the genitals show up on an ultrasound. The age and size of your baby also matter here. 

The Ramzi’s Method of Baby Gender Prediction

English: An ultrasound of a human fetus, measu...
English: An ultrasound of a human fetus, measured to be 1.67 cm from crown to rump, and estimated therefore to have gestational age 8 weeks and 1 day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Let’s face it: the sooner you know your baby’s gender, the better. The technology is there; at around 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy, you’re going to know with nearly 100% accuracy whether you’re going to have a boy or a girl. Yet, there are many other methods of baby gender predictions that may not be as scientific (and may also not be as accurate).

One newer, trendy method you may have heard of is the Ramzi’s Method. This method of baby gender prediction was developed by Dr. Saad Ramzi Ismail. The basic premise here is to use a sonogram to look at the location of the fetus, placenta, and other details at six weeks of age.

This scan measures gestational age, and it measures where the placenta is located. According to the research done by Dr. Ramzi Ismail, at the age of six weeks after conception, around 97% of male fetuses had either the placenta or the chorionic villi on the right hand side of the patient’s uterus. For female fetuses, either the chronic villi or placenta was on the left uterine side in about the same percentage of cases.

Traditional ultrasound done at 18-20 weeks specifically looks for the presence of sex organs. Obviously, sex organs aren’t detectable at six weeks into pregnancy.

This method is new, and fairly controversial. If you have an ultrasound early, you might talk to the doctor and the sonographer about the baby’s position and the placement of the placenta and chronic villi. While your doctor will probably not consider this placement to be a reliable determination of gender, it can be an interesting way to try to guess your baby’s gender ahead of time.

Until more research is done, the Ramzi’s Method will remain controversial. Controlled studies must take place that can validate or invalidate the result. In the meantime, take it all with a grain of salt, and use the information the way you would any other unscientific method of baby gender prediction: as a fun way to guess and hope, while you wait for reliable results.

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Alternatives to Ultrasound


The safest and most reliable method of determining your baby’s gender is, of course, the ultrasound. After about 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor should be able to use the ultrasound to detect the presence of either male or female genitalia. If the baby is a boy it’s usually easier to recognize, but most doctors and ultrasound technicians won’t tell a mom that she’s having a girl unless they actually see the presence of the vulva – not just the absence of the penis.

There is another reliable way to determine your baby’s gender, although it carries with it some risks and isn’t usually performed solely for that purpose. Amniocentesis is a procedure where a needle is inserted into the uterus, and it removes a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding your baby. The amniotic fluid is then analyzed – usually for genetic problems. During that process, the amniotic fluid can also be analyzed for chromosomes, in order to determine what your baby’s sex will be. Amniocentesis is usually reserved for mothers over the age of 35, and when there is the likelihood of a genetic problem.  

CVS – Chorionic Villus Sampling – is another test that can be used during the first trimester of pregnancy in order to determine your baby’s gender. The test is often used to detect certain abnormalities. It’s only infrequently used, as there are other tests that are less invasive that can provide the same results as CVS.

There are, of course, other methods for trying to determine your baby’s gender, none of which have any scientific basis but can still be interesting to consider. For example, there is the pendulum test where someone swings an object over your baby bump, and if it leans one way it’s a girl and if it leans the other way it’s a boy. There are Chinese gender prediction tests based on Chinese astrology. There is the “Drano” test – which may in some rare cases actually pose a health threat, and is probably best to be avoided.

Your best bet is to wait until that 20-week ultrasound, and hope that your baby will cooperate and position herself so that the doctor can tell gender. 

Determining Paternity Before Birth

There are several types of paternity testing that can be done. Some of them can be done after your child’s birth, and some can be done before delivery. Paternity testing can vary widely in terms of cost, ranging from $250 TO $2500. Results of paternity testing can often be given in less than two weeks.

Prenatal paternity testing uses testing of the baby’s DNA to match it against the potential father’s DNA. There are two basic types of DNA testing that can be done before delivery. These include amniocentesis and CVS, or Chorionic Villus Sampling.

An amniocentesis is generally performed during the second trimester of pregnancy. Typically, it would take place between the 14th and the 20th week of pregnancy. During an amniocentesis, your health care provider will utilize an ultrasound machine to help him guide a thin needle into your uterus, by way of your abdomen. This needle will draw out a little bit of amniotic fluid. This amniotic fluid is then tested for DNA. There are some risks with amniocentesis, including a chance of harm to the baby as well as a chance of miscarriage. You might also experience leaking of amniotic fluid, vaginal bleeding, or cramping.

A CVS is typically done earlier in your pregnancy. This procedure is typically done between the 10th and the 13th week of pregnancy. With CVS, your health care provider will insert a thin tube or needle into the vagina, through the cervix, to try to obtain little finger-like pieces of tissue attached to the uterine wall, known as chorionic villi. Chorionic villi comes from the same fertilized egg that your fetus comes from, and consequently has the same DNA makeup as your baby.

The final thing to keep in mind in regard to paternity is that there are specific laws that can vary from one state to the next. For example, in many states, the husband of a woman who becomes pregnant is legally the father, paternity testing not withstanding. In addition, without certain paperwork, a father’s name will not be listed on the baby’s birth certificate if he is not married to the mother when the baby is born.

2D vs. 3D for Gender Prediction


3D ultrasounds were first introduced in 1987, but it is only in recent years that they have been widely used for monitoring fetal development. Some of the advantages of 3D ultrasound over 2D are that they allow physicians (and expectant parents) to see a three dimensional image of their baby.

2D ultrasounds can be difficult to decipher for most people. Often, ultrasound technicians have to label a baby’s body parts so that those who are less familiar with reading 2D ultrasound images can tell what is what. The image looks more or less like a baby (sometimes more like a peanut), but it’s difficult to see any details.

3D imaging gives us an image that looks like a baby. We can see the shape of the skin, and get a reasonably accurate picture of what our babies look like. So, is 3D imaging better at predicting baby’s gender? Logically, you would think so. After all, a 3D ultrasound gives a fairly detailed image.

Experts aren’t so quick to assert 3D’s superiority in discovering baby’s gender, however. Believe it or not, it depends on your baby’s gender:

  • 2D ultrasounds are better able to accurately predict the gender of baby girls. This is because the lines of a female baby’s genitalia are easier to see in the 2D image. Of course, this still requires that the person looking at the image knows what they’re looking for.
  • 3D ultrasounds are better able to accurately predict the gender of baby boys. This is because the boy’s genitalia show up more readily in a three dimensional image. When pointed out, most casual observers will be able to tell the difference, provided the baby allows a good angle for the ultrasound.

It bears mentioning that 4D ultrasounds are about as effective as 3D ultrasounds when it comes to predicting gender. They are better than 2D for predicting the gender of boys, but not quite as good for predicting the gender of girls.

Regardless of which kind of ultrasound you have performed, you can be reasonably confident in the gender prediction provided. Both 2D and 3D ultrasounds are about 90% accurate in determining babies’ gender after the 16th week of pregnancy.


When Can Ultrasound Detect Gender?

Short of genetic sampling, an ultrasound is probably the most reliable method for gender prediction. One of the biggest factors in how reliable an ultrasound will be for gender prediction is how early it is used. If an ultrasound is used for gender prediction too soon, it is very likely that the result may either not be very accurate, or at the very least may not be very clear.

How soon an ultrasound can be used for gender prediction also depends on other factors, as well. The position of the baby plays a role in gender prediction. The thickness of the abdominal wall will also determine how soon an ultrasound can be used for gender prediction, as a thicker abdominal wall can delay gender prediction for sometimes as many as 10 weeks.

Generally speaking, with all of the other factors being equal, an ultrasound can be used for gender prediction by around the 20th week of pregnancy. Having said this, the fact of the matter is that an ultrasound can be used for gender prediction much earlier, sometimes as early as 11 or 12 weeks if the latest ultrasound equipment is being used. Of course, the later that the ultrasound is used for gender prediction, the more accurate the results will be. The optimal time frame, in terms of the reliability of gender prediction when an ultrasound is used, is right around the 20 week mark.

It is also important to keep in mind, when an ultrasound is used for gender prediction, that the skill level as well as the experience of the person who is operating the ultrasound equipment plays a role in both whether or not gender can be predicted, and whether or not that gender prediction will be accurate. Also, some ultrasound technicians may predict that the baby’s gender is female when, rather than actually seeing the female genitals, they cannot see a penis on the ultrasound. When your ultrasound technician predicts the gender to be female, it is worth asking whether she actually sees the female genitals, or whether her prediction is based on the absence of a penis only.

How Ultrasounds Predict Gender

An ultrasound is one of the most reliable ways to tell your baby’s sex. As a matter of fact, an ultrasound may be the only way, short of something like genetic sampling or amniocentesis, that you will be able to tell your baby’s sex with any degree of certainty. Understanding how an ultrasound can be used to tell your baby’s sex is an important part of knowing how reliable the ultrasound will be.

An ultrasound relies on making a visual representation of what is going on inside of your womb. Using an ultrasound, you can usually see your baby’s heartbeat at around 8 weeks of pregnancy, for example. An ultrasound is also used to measure your baby, and to track your baby’s growth. An ultrasound may be used to try to detect if there are any abnormalities with the way that your baby is forming, as well. And, as has been said before, an ultrasound can indeed be used to tell your baby’s sex.

How an ultrasound is used to tell your baby’s sex relies, at least in part, on the person operating the ultrasound, whether it is an ultrasound technician or whether it is your health care provider. The person operating the ultrasound will be able to tell your baby’s sex by looking for the presence of genitals. If the person that is operating the ultrasound can see a penis, she will predict that your baby’s sex will be male. Telling your baby’s sex when it is a girl, however, can be more difficult. If the person operating the ultrasound actually sees the labia on the ultrasound, your baby’s sex is obviously female. But if the person operating the ultrasound just doesn’t see a penis, it doesn’t mean for certain that your baby’s sex is male. As a matter of fact, without seeing the labia, most of the time the person operating the ultrasound will not tell you that your baby’s sex is female.

There are other factors that will tell whether the ultrasound is reliably telling your baby’s sex. First, the position of your baby can affect whether or not the genitals can be seen. Also, your baby’s age and size will play a role as well.