Sunday, August 21, 2011

Information for womb twin survivors: signs and symptoms

By the time I had entered the data and sent for analysis 500 questionnaires completed by womb twin survivors who visited the site, after years of research I had accumulated a comprehensive list of the sign  or symptoms that are associated with a twin pregnancy. The same list is the first part of the questionnaire.

I had used this same list in 2007 as a hand out at the ICTS conference in June 2007. It was greeted with mild surprise and lukewarm support, but it was very good to have been there!

[The list of indications is available as a free download here]

The full list is on this page of my web site, but here it is in full for your instant perusal.

The mother’s pregnancy
  • Mother abnormally large around the waist in the first three months
  • First trimester bleeding
  • Complete miscarriage but pregnancy continued
  • Suspected miscarriage but pregnancy continued
  • Attempted abortion but pregnancy continued
  • Doctor or nurse suspected twin pregnancy
  • Another person suspected twins
  • Mother experienced blunt trauma in an accident or assault when pregnant
  • Mother experienced infection during pregnancy
  • Mother experienced severe trauma during pregnancy
  • Mother experienced starvation through illness famine or hyperemesis
  • Mother took hyper-ovulation drug (eg. Clomid)
  • More that one embryo transplanted after IVF
  • Ultrasound evidence of second sac
 Features of labour and delivery
    •    Birth was traumatic
    •    Breech birth
    •    Small for dates
    •    Placenta unusually large
Physical evidence of the lost twin after delivery
    •    Additional sacs or cords found
    •    Fetus papyaceous
    •    Marks or lesions on the placenta
    •    Twin stillborn or dies close to birth
In body of survivor
    •    Dermoid cyst
    •    Teratoma
    •    Foetus in foetu
    •    Sexual organs of opposite sex
    •    Secondary sexual characteristics of opposite sex
    •    Cerebral palsy in the survivor
    •    Birth defects in survivor
    •    Split organs
    •    Congenital abnormality
Other associations with twinning
    •    Left handed
    •    Ambidextrous
    •    Chimerism
    •    Mosaicism

I would be interested in any comments about any indications or signs that I may have missed, so feel free to comment!


  1. Dear Althea,

    I was born in the GDR so there was no ultrasound evidence for a twinship or anything like that nor were the women informed about unusual things after the birth...
    so I have no physical evidence or sign of a lost twin at all as I am physically a very healthy person... but psychologically almost every indicator goes for me...
    and I don´t have a traumatic childhood - it was not ideal but there wasn´t any abuse or violence.
    So do you think it is still likely to be a WTS?

    all the best!

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  3. Sorry my last comment was a bit garbled! This is not the entire list - there are other indications that are not listed above and there may be more signs in your body that we haven't discovered yet. This is a very new science and much more research is needed. I have high testosterone - that is the only physical sign that I have. Like you psychologically I'm 100%!! The psychological markers are probably more reliable because it can be hard to get details of the pregnancy and birth. More of those later!

  4. I found out I was pregnant in May of 05. I later was told at a ultra sound I had 2 sacs but it was to early to be for sure. I later started spotting and was told I was never pregnant and after spotting for a few days I stopped.

    6 weeks later I still had no menstral went back to the doctor and found out I was pregnant again. My blood levels were very low and didn't add up with the before assumed pregnancy and I stayed in the hospital for 4 days. The 4th day my blood level was
    above average and I was released..

    A few weeks later I had a horrible pain in my stomach which also resulted in another trip to the er. I had a ultra sound which got me admitted bc they could see the fetus. I was later discharged and told that I most likely suffered from a ruptured sist.

    I found out I was having a healthy girl around Sep/Oct of 06 and she was due mid Feb. My 2 ultra sound said my due date was Feb 2. Which I thought a few weeks ahead of schedule was pretty weird being this was my 4th child and never had it happen before.

    Dec 31, 2005 I sat down on a porch the wrong way which hurt really bad around the bottom of my rib cage. 6 hours later my water broke. I went to the hospital and was told by nurses my water broke and we were having a baby 5 weeks early. I was horrified. My doctor came in and said it wouldn't be long. 5 hours later my doctor decided to examine and see how far I was dilated and discovers I was slowly progressing bc of another sac. He had to break the sac which was blocking my daughter Tori from coming out. The sac was filled with nasty mess and my doctor said he had never seen so much water in one sac in all of his years of being a doctor.

    I assumed i was having twins and some how miscarried somewhere along my 1st trimester. My doctor informed me that my daughter was early but perfectly healthy at 6 pounds 13 ounces. We have never told our daughter Tori of our suspicions.

    Last week Tori, who's now 6, told me of a sad dream she had. She said she dreamed she was a twin. She said that in her dream that when she saw her twin that she was so sad bc she realized how much she missed it. She couldn't tell me if this twin was a boy or a girl but that they were so happy to see each other just cried. And all she could feel was just sad.

    My husband is a twin and was really shaken by her testimony but we have never told Tori bc we were never given any info regarding the separate sac. What do you make of all of this?

  5. Dear Tiffany

    We now have a special web site for children who are womb twin survivors.

    There is an article for parents, stories, also some books, especially Two Little Birds which is for 7 years and under. (Available November but you can put in an advance order)

    Take a look at
    Contact me for further information


  6. Is it possible that the parents never knew they were having twins at all so when one of them 'vanished' they never noticed it either?

    I'm asking this as I have a lingering gut feeling that I may be a womb twin survivor especially since phsycologically, i match the 'profile' but my parents both deny it and they have never lied to me before so I really have no clue.

    Throughout my life, I have always had dreams of me having a brother/sister who had died and left me behind. These dreams were always more vivd than any other although the details leave me soon after waking up and they only occur when I am in deep sleep and relaxed. The scenerios may be different, the setting as well but the one thing I always recall after waking up is that in every dream, my sibling had died and I was so very alone...

    In everday life, my emotions are also quite wacked up. I either feel them too strongly or I dont feel any at all. I always feel alone like I'm missing something and I always have an urge to hug onto something for comfort...

    I dont believe I have any of the physical attributes since Im pretty healthy physically but... well I just have this feeling that I may have been a twin.

  7. Just to add on to my previous comment. My preferences in everything are always contradictory to each other and while I adore 'girly girl' stuff I also hate? it and prefer more boyish things as well...

    I always sllep better with someone else in the same room as me as well...

    I dont believe that this has anything to do with my childhood though... my parents doted on me and spent as much time as possible with me. You could say that I had the ideal childhood but still, I find myself experiencing these psychological symptoms that usually appear in those with less than nice childhoods...

    I only found out about the womb twin survivor thing this morning but I always suspected myself to have possibly been a twin.

    1. Speaking of which the dreams where my sibling does not die usually end with them leaving me behind in another way...