Twins in the Womb: Week by Week

Twins in the Womb: Week by Week

From tiny twosome to dynamic duo, get ready to be amazed by the journey of your twins in the womb, week-by-week.

So, you’re expecting twins ‒ congratulations!

Looks like you have a two-for-one deal in the works!

You might also be interested in what your pair of peanuts is getting up to right now.

The development of your twins in the womb week by week is a fascinating journey.

So, let’s take a closer look at your twins in the womb week by week development

In this article: 📝

  • Twins in the womb: first trimester
  • Twins in the womb: second trimester
  • Twins in the womb: third trimester
  • What is the most common week to have twins?
  • Twin pregnancy belly week by week size

Twins in the womb: first trimester

1 to 2 weeks: getting ready

Your body prepares for pregnancy: your uterus sheds its lining during your period, and your ovaries get ready for their big moment.

That moment ‒ ovulation ‒ happens about two weeks after your last period, when one of your ovaries releases the egg or eggs that will become your babies.

And here’s what’s confusing.

Because pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last period, in weeks one and two of your pregnancy, you’re not technically pregnant yet.

We’re in the prep stage at this point!

(We give you the full lowdown on how to count pregnancy weeks here.)

🔎 Dig deeper: Are There Early Signs of Twin Pregnancy in the First 2 Weeks?

3 to 4 weeks: fertilization to implantation

All babies, including twins, grow from an egg fertilized by a sperm cell, which then implants in the wall of the uterus.

But the story of the fertilization of your twins will look a little different depending on whether they are fraternal or identical.

And week 1 of your pregnancy isn’t actually when you’re pregnant, so don’t expect to see a baby in an [ultrasound scan(].

When do twins form?

  • Fraternal twins: Fraternal twins are twins right from the moment of conception. Each baby develops from a separate fertilized egg (also called a zygote), which then starts to multiply into a ball of cells called a blastocyst. The two blastocysts make their way down your fallopian tubes and into your uterus, where they nestle down into the uterine wall.
  • Identical twins: Identical twins begin their journey as one fertilized egg. But within a week after fertilization, the fertilized egg splits into two ‒ and suddenly, you have a pair of tiny twins! These will then go on to grow and develop as blastocysts in a similar way to fraternal twins.

At first, each blastocyst is made up of two layers of cells:

  • The inner core of cells will become the embryo (which grows into your baby).
  • And the outer layer of cells will become the placenta (the organ that nourishes your baby during pregnancy).

Fraternal twins will usually each have their own placenta to sustain them.

But some identical twins actually share one placenta.

This is more likely if the fertilized egg splits only once it has attached to the wall of the uterus.

What are the early signs of twins?

So how can you tell you’re expecting double trouble before you take your pregnancy test?

Early signs of twins could include extreme fatigue, heightened pregnancy nausea, and a feeling that something is just a little bit… different.

But let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.

Double trouble or not, be sure to consult with your doctor for confirmation and guidance on your exciting journey ahead!

5 to 8 weeks: hello, embryos!

Your twins in utero are now called embryos.

The period from 5 to 8 weeks is a significant chapter of development for them, as most of their major bodily systems will form during this time.

Their brains and spinal cords are developing, and their hearts will begin to beat by around five weeks.

By eight weeks, your twins will have tiny arms and legs that can already bend.

What week do twins start showing?

Your uterus has to grow quite a bit bigger to fit your twins comfortably, so you might find that you start to get a baby bump when it’s still only your first trimester.

You could begin to show at around 8 weeks (versus 3 or 4 months for a pregnancy of one).

But, like with all pregnancies, each mama-to-be is different.

So there’s no twin pregnancy belly week-by-week size to fit everyone.

9 to 12 weeks: meet the fetus.

At eleven weeks, your twins graduate to fetus status.

Their faces are becoming more defined, with well-formed noses, eyes, and upper lips.

Eyelids now cover their eyes.

Tooth buds are growing under their gums.

These will go on to become teeth once your babies are born.

Your twins are developing tiny fingers and toes, and fingernails start to grow by twelve weeks.

They’re moving around in your uterus, doing lots of kicking and stretching, but you probably won’t be able to feel much yet.

You might have your first ultrasound scan at around twelve weeks, though it could be earlier ‒ and that could be when you discover you’re expecting twins!

Twins in the womb: second trimester

13 to 17 weeks: entering into the second trimester.

As you enter the second trimester, your twins’ eyes are closed, but they can now move their eyes behind the lids.

They’re also growing eyebrows and eyelashes.

During this time, a creamy, waxy substance called vernix forms on the twins’ skin.

This protects it from the amniotic fluid the babies are swimming around in.

(Fun fact: Your twins are now also swallowing the amniotic fluid and peeing it out!)

From about 16 weeks, you might be able to see your babies’ sex organs during an ultrasound scan.

(If the twins are identical, they’ll definitely be the same sex, but if they’re fraternal, you could end up with one of each.)

18 to 22 weeks: are they moving in there?

During these few weeks, you may start to feel your twins moving around for the first time.

Initially, you might feel a kind of fluttering or bubbling sensation, but this will develop into more noticeable kicks and pokes.

By about 18 weeks, your twins’ ears are beginning to stick out from the sides of their heads, and they might start to hear some sounds.

After 20 weeks, your babies’ bodies will be covered with lanugo ‒ fine, downy hair that helps keep them warm.

Meconium is forming in your babies’ bowels.

This is a collection of anything they’ve swallowed while in your uterus ‒ amniotic fluid, lanugo, cells, etc. ‒ and it will become the twins’ first poops in the outside world.

23 to 27 weeks: let the breathing practice commence!

Your twins’ skin is red and wrinkled at this point, but they’re starting to store fat, which will eventually smooth their skin out.

Hair is growing on their heads.

At around 26 weeks, your babies’ lungs are getting ready to practice breathing motions.

They’re producing a substance called surfactant, which helps keep the tiny air sacs in the lungs inflated.

By 27 weeks, your twins’ hearing is getting more highly developed.

They might move in response to hearing your voice or a familiar tune.

They’re also developing unique fingerprints, and taste buds are growing on their tongues.

You might also be thinking about throwing your twin baby shower at this point ‒ and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the cutest twin-themed ideas!

Twins in the womb: third trimester

28 to 32 weeks: welcome to the third trimester!

Your twins’ brains are developing quickly, and they’re getting better at regulating body temperature so they can keep warm in the outside world.

They’re also practicing their breathing by moving amniotic fluid in and out of their lungs.

The babies can now open and close their eyes, sensing changes in light.

But most of the time, they’re asleep with their eyes closed.

As your twins build up fat, their skin starts to look smoother and less wrinkled.

Their bones are becoming firmer, but their skulls stay fairly soft to help with delivery.

Some babies also have a full head of hair at this point.

33 to 36 weeks: the final stretch.

Now you’re really on the home stretch of your twin pregnancy.

They’re basically mini versions of their newborn selves at this point ‒ there’s still some growing to be done, but there is a chance they could make a surprise arrival pretty much at any point.

So get packing your hospital bag with twice the adorable onesies, practice setting up your double car seat, pick out your favorite twin baby names, and get ready for life with twins!

What is the most common week to have twins?

On average, twins tend to be born a little earlier than single babies, at about 36 weeks.

So around this time, it’s a good idea to have all your baby essentials (don’t forget the double stroller!) ready and be on the lookout for any signs of labor.

Meanwhile, in your uterus, the twins’ main task during these final few weeks is to gain as much weight as they can.

Their lungs are maturing as they prepare to breathe fresh air for the first time.

And their brains are also putting the finishing touches on their development.

Twin pregnancy belly week by week size

It’s no surprise that mamas of multiples tend to have bigger bumps than moms-to-be of single babies.

So you could start showing earlier than single-baby moms ‒ even as early as 6 weeks!

And by the time you’re 32 weeks, you could have a bump as big as a full-term single pregnancy.

Now that’s a big bump!

And that’s it: the journey of your twins in the womb, week-by-week.

From their synchronized movements to their unique personalities, twins are a true wonder of nature.

Remember, twins may be double the work, but they’re also double the love, laughter, and joy!

And if you want some advice from other mamas of multiples who have been there, there’s a whole community on Peanut, waiting for you.

Popular on the blog
Trending in our community