How Can I Get Pregnant With Twins
If you are looking for ways to get pregnant with twins or multiples, the answer could lie in your genes. But even if you do not have a family history of twins, take heart because other factors can increase your chances of having fraternal twins. These include your age, ethnicity, diet, BMI, the supplements you take, and whether you are using infertility treatments.
Desperate to have twins? The world of twins is fascinating, so it’s understandable if you feel this way. But can you actually increase your odds of having twins?
The twin birth rate in the United States has never been higher, with nearly 34 of every 1000 live births resulting in twins as of 2014.1 Do keep in mind, though, that it’s more likely you’ll have fraternal (non-identical) twins. Identical twins occur in just 3 to 4 of every 1000 live births.2 But be it fraternal or identical, what exactly are your chances of having twins?
When Are Twins Conceived?
Identical twins are more likely to be conceived by chance when a fertilized egg happens to divide into two. This results in two babies that look nearly alike since their genes are almost identical. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, are the result of two eggs being fertilized by two different sperm, resulting in gestation that happens simultaneously. In reality, they are not unlike two siblings who just happen to be born together.3
Do Twins Run In Families?
According to the Office on Women’s Health, the tendency to have fraternal twins tends to run in families.4 Dizygotic or fraternal twins are twice as likely in women whose sisters or mothers have had fraternal twins. This is due to genetic factors like hyperovulation, where, during ovulation, the woman releases more than one egg.
Since identical twins happen by chance, this isn’t normally linked to genetics and doesn’t usually run in families. However, as the National Institutes of Health explains, monozygotic or identical twins have been found in higher numbers in a smattering of families, indicating that there could be a genetic link as well. While the causes for identical twinning are still not clear, there is a theory that the genes involved in cell adhesion (in sticking cells together) could be at play here.5
Non-Genetic Reasons For Twins
You must’ve seen a lot of speculation surrounding how twins can be conceived. But many of them are just that – myths to be busted. For instance, certain sexual positions don’t really lead to twins. Nor will you have them by binging on yams! In fact, there’s no way to guarantee having twins. That’s purely up to timing and a combination of biological events, given the right setting or environment within the body. But besides genetics, some other triggers can play a role.
Certain ethnic groups are more likely to have twins than others. According to the Twin Project at the University of Texas at Austin, African-Americans are more likely to conceive twins. The birth rate of twins is nearly 37 per 1000 compared to just 32 in the average population. On the other hand, if you are Latino American/Hispanic, you are less likely to have twins. The average twin birth rate in this ethnic group is just shy of 22 per 1000.6
CDC data shows that just 2 percent of women aged under 25 have twin births, compared to 5 percent of those aged between 35 and 39 years. As you grow older but remain fertile, your odds of twin births increase even more. Which is why as many as 7 percent of all women aged 40 or more giving birth have had twins.7 This could be attributed to the increased production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) by women aged 35 and up, resulting in multiple eggs being released during their menstrual cycle.8
What has made a bigger difference to overall twinning numbers is the increased use of infertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In fact, the Centers for Disease Control attribute two-thirds of the increase in twin birth rates in the three decades between 1980 and 2009 to use of therapies like IVF and ovulation stimulation medication.9
A surprising cause for twin births is maternal body mass index (BMI). As one study found, women who are obese and have a BMI of over 30 are likelier to have fraternal twins.10
Discontinued Hormonal Birth Control
Another reason being attributed to higher chances of having twins is if you have recently given up hormonal birth control methods.11 However, more studies are needed to back this up.
It gets more interesting! According to the American Pregnancy Association, if you’ve already had many babies, you are more likely to have twins.12 The causes for this are not fully understood, though.
Folic Acid And Multivitamin Supplementation
Taking folic acid supplements, both before and after conception, is believed to positively influence your chances of having twins. Now, researchers suggest multivitamins could help, too. As one study concluded, the prevalence of twin births was higher in women who took folic acid and multivitamin supplements pre and post conception than in those who did not.13 However, there has also been evidence that taking multivitamins and folic acid at the preconception or early stages of pregnancy might increase not just the chances of multiple births but also of miscarriages. This has resulted in mixed views on the supplement.14
Some research also suggests that dairy consumption can increase chances of a woman having twins by as much as five times. Researchers suggest this might be due to the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) present in animal milk that makes ovaries more sensitive to FSH, causing an increase in ovulation.15
So, as you can see, some women are more likely to have twins than others. And some circumstances and incidents can improve the odds. However, you can’t expect to definitely have twins by following a magic five-step formula encompassing all the right moves. Some things are still up to nature!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Multiple Births. National Center for Health Statistics.|
|2, 11, 12.||↑||How a Multiples Pregnancy Occurs. American Pregnancy Association.|
|3, 4.||↑||Twins, triplets, and other multiples. Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services.|
|5.||↑||Is the probability of having twins determined by genetics?. Genetics Home Reference, NIH.|
|6.||↑||How many twins?. The Twin Project at the University of Texas at Austin.|
|7, 9.||↑||Three Decades of Twin Births in the United States, 1980–2009. CDC.|
|8.||↑||Pregnant with twins. NHS.|
|10.||↑||Reddy, Uma M., Amy M. Branum, and Mark A. Klebanoff. “Relationship of maternal body mass index and height to twinning.” Obstetrics & Gynecology 105, no. 3 (2005): 593-597.|
|13.||↑||Czeizel, Andrew E., and Peter Vargha. “Periconceptional folic acid/multivitamin supplementation and twin pregnancy.” American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 191, no. 3 (2004): 790-794.|
|14.||↑||Bailey, Lynn B., and Robert J. Berry. “Folic acid supplementation and the occurrence of congenital heart defects, orofacial clefts, multiple births, and miscarriage.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81, no. 5 (2005): 1213S-1217S.|
|15.||↑||Steinman, Gary. “Mechanisms of twinning: VII. Effect of diet and heredity on the human twinning rate.” The journal of reproductive medicine 51, no. 5 (2006): 405-410.|