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How often are twins missed by ultrasound?

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Quick Answer

While twins may have been a surprise in the past, today most multiple pregnancies are accurately detected during a first-trimester ultrasound, a routine component of adequate prenatal care. Twin, triplet and other multiple pregnancies occur rarely, at just over 3 percent of all births, according to the March of Dimes.

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Doctors are eager to detect multiple pregnancies as early as possible because mothers of twins and other multiples are more susceptible to complications during pregnancy, notes the March of Dimes. Careful monitoring and treatment minimize the risks of low birth weight and premature labor, and if serious conditions such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes arise, they are well-managed. For this reason, mothers of multiples make more frequent office visits and undergo more testing than mothers of single babies.

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