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Can an unborn twin “vanish”?
Q: One of my friends told me that she was pregnant with twins, but one of them vanished. I never heard of such a thing happening. Can you explain what she meant?
A: Some twin pregnancies become a singleton pregnancy in the first trimester due to the loss of the other twin. This is known as a “vanishing twin.”

Before ultrasound there was no way to determine how many babies were in the uterus. All we could do was catch them as they were born. Since ultrasound technology has become prevalent, we have an effective way of detecting early twin pregnancies. We also will see the loss of one of the babies occurring early on.

Without an ultrasound most women would never know that they had conceived twins. These pregnancies do not have to show any symptoms, either.

As for your friend, she should have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy ahead.

Craig L. Bissinger M.D.