Signs & Symptoms | Making Sense of Symptoms

Carrying twins doesn’t automatically double your pregnancy symptoms. While it’s certainly possible to experience an increase in symptoms, this wasn’t the case for Heather Adams of Atlanta, Ga. Adams has five children, three boys ages 14, 11 and 9, and 17-month-old twin daughters. She said when she was first pregnant with her twins she thought she had the worst case of morning sickness ever – until the boys also started throwing up. It turns out she had the stomach flu, along with the rest of her family.

“Once I got over the flu I was barely sick with the girls,” Adams says. “With all three of my boys, I had terrible morning sickness and thought my symptoms would be worse with twins, but I was fine. The only time my symptoms were more severe with twins was toward the end when the pressure was more intense against my pelvis. Other than that, it was smooth sailing.”

Pre-pregnancy Symptoms

Sometimes premenstrual symptoms are the same as early pregnancy symptoms.

Adams learned what most reproductive experts know: Symptoms don’t always make sense. Dr. Cheryl Perlis, a gynecologic surgeon who specializes in women’s health and the mother of twin boys, confirms that having multiples doesn’t always mean doubling (or tripling) up on symptoms. That’s one of the many myths of reproduction. However, there are some definite symptoms, which can vary from person to person, that begin even before pregnancy – signs of ovulation that can guide a woman toward, or away from, pregnancy.

  1. Mittelschmerz

Mittelschmerz, which means “middle pain,” often occurs mid-cycle as the egg is released from the ovary. Dr. Perlis says the pain can range from a twinge to a severe enough cramping to sometimes be mistaken for appendicitis.

“I carried a plastic bag with me for those times when I couldn’t get to a bathroom quickly enough,” Dr. Perlis says. “That’s a tip I still pass on to expectant moms.”

  1. Headaches

Headaches often start at around 10 to 11 weeks and can’t be resolved with aspirin or acetaminophen. There’s not much that can be done if trouble is due to hormonal issues. However, Dr. Perlis says she often sees headaches due to caffeine withdrawal from women who think they have to give up caffeine while they’re pregnant. Her solution: don’t. There’s questionable evidence on whether or not caffeine is harmful when you’re pregnant. Still, it’s wise to keep it reasonable and discuss the topic with your doctor or midwife.

  1. Insomnia

Sleep problems can occur at any time during pregnancy. They’re more typical later in pregnancy, when the nesting instinct starts kicking in but can happen early in pregnancy as well.

  1. Food Issues

These can take the form of sudden aversions to foods that have always been favorites, or cravings for foods that you may not necessarily have liked before.

Making Sense of Symptoms-Pre-pregnancy and Pregnancy6. Sex Drive

Like with the food issues, this can go either way. Some women report an increased sex drive, and some shut down completely.

Reproductive symptoms are unique to each woman. Not experiencing ovulation symptoms does not mean you’re not ovulating, and feeling “fine” when you read that negative pregnancy test doesn’t prove you’re not pregnant – maybe you just tested too early. The best advice of all is to try not to put so much emphasis on aches and pains and other signs. After all, symptoms don’t always make sense.