How early can you detect twins? Even though some women may have a strong hunch that they’re expecting twins, an early scan is the only way to know for sure.
How early can you detect twins in a scan?
If you’re willing to pay for an early scan, you can detect twins very early in a pregnancy. If the twins are di-di twins – which means that they have their own separate inner and outer sacs and each have a placenta – they can be detected in week 5. You can look for and detect the two outer sacs, even though you might not be able to discover heart beats yet. If they are mo-di or mo-mo twins you have to wait until 6 full weeks have passed. This is because these types of twins who share a sac – or at least the outer sac – are detected via heart beats. After week 6+0 both hearts should be beating. This means that all twins can be detected after week 6+0, regardless of what type of twins they are. Read more about di-di, mo-di and mo-mo twins.
When will I get my first scan?
In most countries your first scan will occur when you are 11-13 weeks pregnant.* It will confirm your due date and you’ll be offered screening tests for Down’s syndrome at this point. This is done via an external ultrasound scan, where a probe is moved over your belly. If you get an early scan – before 8 full weeks – it will usually be an internal ultrasound scan, which means that the probe is inserted into your vagina. It’s done this way because it’s possible to get a better image of the embryos.
*If you’re in fertility treatment you’ll probably have your first scan around week 6.
What happens during an early vaginal scan?
During a vaginal scan you’ll need to undress from the waist down and you’ll lie on your back with your knees bent. The probe will be covered with a condom-like cover and lots of luminous gel. The sonographer won’t need to go in very deeply and it can’t hurt you or your babies in any way. It’s not painful, but you may discover mild discomfort due to the pressure of the probe or if you tense up during the scan. The probe sends out sound waves. A computer receives these waves and uses them to create a picture. Together with the sonographer, you’ll be able to see the picture on a TV monitor. Unless you are in fertility treatment, an early scan will only be offered if you face complications, such as pain or vaginal bleeding.
If you’re not up for an early scan, there are other indicators that can suggest that you are having twins. Have a look at twin pregnancy symptoms.