1. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland

    Pregnant with twins

    Discussion in 'Research' started by jannert, Mar 6, 2014.

    I'm writing a character who is pregnant with twins ...but it's in the 19th century, before the advent of ultrasound tests, etc. Does anybody have a clue how soon, or in what way, a woman in that situation would be aware she's likely to be carrying twins, rather than a single baby?

    Is there anybody on the forum who has had both, a single birth and a twin birth? I'm looking for some first-hand impressions as to how it felt. It's probably obvious once four feet start kicking, but is there any hint beforehand? Something that a mother would be aware of, without the benefit of modern science?
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    a midwife or doctor palpating the abdomen in the woman's third trimester could conceivably feel two heads... before then, i don't think there'd be any way to tell...

    and, as one who has borne 7 children [singletons all], i can tell you that kicking isn't a reliable test, since some babies are so lively the mom could swear there's more than one kicking up a storm, while others are relatively 'calm'... plus, with multiples, there's much less room in there to move around, so that would also affect mobility...
     
    jannert likes this.
  3. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    Thanks. Yeah, I suppose there are kids 'in there' that behave like a one-person band, complete with drum, cymbals, bells and whistles, while others just lie quietly and contemplate their lives to come. I have never had children myself, so I really am stepping off the deep end here. I can (and have) done tons of research, and my niece is a practicing midwife ...but there's no substitute for having actually experienced motherhood. Thanks for the insight.
     
  4. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I'm not so sure there is much of a difference in feeling. I've heard plenty of stories of people who had twins and were completely surprised by the fact that there was "another one!" before ultrasounds and such. So, that far back, I don't think there'd be any reliable way of telling.
     
    jannert likes this.
  5. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yeah, I've heard these stories as well. It does seem that the size of the mother's belly would have been a clue, eventually. But I just wondered how a mother might be able to tell earlier on. Maybe you just can't.

    Mind you, there are lots of instances out there where mothers were pregnant and didn't know it, and were extremely surprised when a baby emerged. I've always thought ...geez, SURELY the possibility would have crossed their minds? I mean, no period for 9 months, belly getting large, etc. Hard to say, really.
     
  6. sidtvicious
    Offline

    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Inferno, office 752. Take a right turn at the wat
    My SO is a twin, and have heard many stories from my mother-in-law about her pregnancy. The thing that comes to mind is size. Depending on how your character is carrying the twins, she could be fairly big by pregnancy standards. My mother-in-law likes to talk about how she was 4 months pregnant and everyone said "any day now huh?"
     
    jannert likes this.
  7. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    yikes...
     
  8. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Even today, with all of our modern technology, it is not uncommon to hear/read about a woman believing she is carrying to one, two, or even three and, at delivery, discover an extra "passenger". I can even recall a woman who had been told she was carrying triplets and then gave birth to quints! (Why do you suppose they call medicine a practice?)
     
    jannert likes this.
  9. Mans
    Online

    Mans Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    Iran
    I think, mother hears the sound of twin's crying from her womb.
     
    jannert likes this.
  10. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stethoscope#History, invented in 1816

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinard_horn
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_month_can_you_hear_the_baby's_heartbeat_with_a_stethoscope
    It's possible to hear two distinct heartbeats if one is skilled at listening.


    http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/multiple-pregnancy

    You might also look up superstitions about twin pregnancies of the day. You character can believe in a superstition that coincidentally is correct.
     
    jannert and Simpson17866 like this.
  11. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I heard that one, too -- relatively recently, like in the last month or two. And size isn't the end all be all. There are plenty of women who, for various reason, are just extra big even with one. I've heard of plenty of instances of people saying asinine things like, "I don't care what they say, you're so big, you must be carrying twins!"

    I think similar to the way in which some women have a hunch or intuition about the gender of the baby, some might have a hunch they're carrying twins. Obviously, this isn't scientifically valid, but it's something that could work in a story.
     
    jannert likes this.
  12. cutecat22
    Offline

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    England
    Funnily enough, I have a friend (we went through school together) who collapsed at home with suspected appendicitis. Her mother rushed her to the doctors where he examined her and said "Appendicitis? no, your 38 week plus, pregnant! ..."
    She was never a skinny girl but the baby had been tucked away in there and as this was in the very early 90's, the fashion was big and baggy clothing. We were a close group of friends who had recently left school so 16/17 years old but none of us knew, the thought never even entered our heads.
     
    jannert likes this.
  13. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    As a matter of fact, I'd planned (in the plot) for the twin pregnancy to be discovered by a doctor in the third trimester, using a stethoscope, and finding two heartbeats. But I just wondered if the mother herself would have been aware beforehand that maybe she was carrying two instead of one?

    In my story there is no possibility that the pregnancy was started early, so if she is much larger than she would normally have been, I suppose the possibility of twins might enter her mind. I'm just so much on the outside here, having no personal experience of pregnancy myself. The consensus of opinion here, thus far, seems to be that she MIGHT suspect, but probably won't know for sure. I'll go with that.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    If it's her first baby, she won't likely know. Some experienced women might tell her things like she's big, it could be twins. These would be pretty much uninformed opinions for the most part, (which are rampant even today), unless the person giving advice actually knows from an experience, hers or someone she knew first hand. But a mother who had had a pregnancy already could know it felt different, too many limbs kicking at the same time. Two babes in the womb start to get crowded by the second trimester. So if it were not the first pregnancy, it's realistic she suspects. If it is, perhaps you need someone more experienced giving her clues.
     
    jannert likes this.
  15. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    @GingerCoffee - It's the first pregnancy for my character, who is a young woman, 21 years old. I will give your excellent suggestion about other people's remarks some thought. Of course other people (other women) might make observations. They wouldn't have done in polite society, back then—pregnancy was an unmentionable, unless you were with close friends and family—but she will be in a rural situation (where she is a comparative stranger) and maybe women there would be more forthright with their observations.

    I had actually planned for the doctor's revelation to come as a total surprise (shock) and have already partly-written the scene, which takes place around the start of her third trimester. But then I thought ...woops, would this be realistic? Would she already have suspected?

    All this feedback has set me off on several trains of thought. Amazing what a boost to the imagination feedback can be! Thanks so much, everybody.
     
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  16. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i hope you were joking, mans... crying, or making any sounds involving the vocal cords requires air and as there is no air in the womb, sound is not possible...

    as for the belly size being a determining factor for twins, forget it!... i was HUGE with a 9 pound+ 'passenger' twice, and my younger sister's first and only child weighed in at over 11 pounds, each of which equaled the combined size and weight of many pairs of twins... while many mothers-to-be carrying twins are of normal girth at birth...
     
    Mans likes this.
  17. Mans
    Online

    Mans Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    Iran
    :confused: But I have heard whales make sound underwater.

    Yes, I was joking ;) I think sometimes we need some humors between the serious discussions. In some threads I can't control myself and have a joking with posters :)

    maia, I have also a grammatical question. You called me thus:
    Why you used "were" instead of " was"?
     
  18. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    @Mans - Hi there! Thanks for contributing to my thread.

    I sympathise with you, learning such a crazy language as English. Many English "rules" make no sense. You've just found one. Was and were.

    A native English speaker will say this automatically, while someone like yourself, who is trying to learn English, will be pulling your hair out in little tufts, trying to understand a 'rule' that makes no sense.

    It goes like this:

    I was, he was, she was

    You were, they were

    This applies even when the 'you' is only one person. o_O I know, it makes no sense, but that's the way it is.

    I suppose this is an English speaker's revenge on other languages that apply gender to every noun. Like the was/were thing, it makes no sense. :)
     
    cutecat22 and GingerCoffee like this.
  19. Mans
    Online

    Mans Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    Iran
    Oh Jannert, I apologize you and maia. My question was because of an immediate confusion. I thought for a moment, maia had to use "was" instead of "were", while I myself have used "were" after "you" always. But in this case, I forgot this fact for a moment. Do you realize what was the mistake in my mind? It is like, someone forgets the number that he has used it always, for a short time. So, for a few seconds I thought,maia has used a wrong verb. Therefore my question wasn't a critique about English language.
     
    jannert likes this.
  20. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    not a problem, mans... we all have brain glitches now and then!o_O

    yes, they 'sing' and 'speak' to each other in clicks... but they also have a store of air in their lungs, which is why they have to surface now and then, to 'blow' out accumulated water and replenish their air supply...

    their singing sounds result from air passing through a lip-like structure in their head [see wikipedia for a full explanation]... but humming doesn't require either air or lips, so whales may also be 'humming' as we do, with the sound reverberating through the water...

    thanks for saving me all that typing, jannert!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
    Mans likes this.

Share This Page