Every married couple’s dream is to have twins. In this article, we are sharing with you tips on how to increase your chances of having twins. Twins are so adorable in the sense that everyone admires them when they are seen. The joy of every young couple is having kids in their marriage, but the joy is doubled when they have twins. Generally speaking, every culture admires twins and sees them as gifts from God.
Though over the years, there was a time twins were seen as a taboo and were killed or had their mother banished from the community or even the entire family isolated.
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Through sensitization, different cultural groups were re-oriented on the premise that twins are evil, and that they actually come from God. Thank God today the war is and pregnant women can now give birth to twins without panic or threat. Here in this article, we have listed tips on how to increase chances of having twins.
General Tips to Increase Twins Chances
1. Being older rather than younger helps. It seems to be a twist of nature that just before a woman enters peri-menopause, her ovaries start releasing more than one egg each month. This “fertility spike” is also influenced by a surge of oestrogen. Fertility research has proven that twin pregnancies are much more common in women who are over 30 years. But this only applies to non-identical twins.
2. Have fertility assistance such as in vitro fertilisation or take fertility drugs. These stimulate the ovaries to support more than one ovarian follicle each month towards maturity. The result is that more than one egg is released.
3. Pick your own genetics carefully! Though we all know this is impossible. But if you come from a family where non-identical twins are common then your family history and genetic endowment means that you’ve got a greater chance of having them yourself. But identical twins can occur in any family.
4. Be of African/American heritage. Women from this ethnic background have a distinctly higher rate of twin pregnancies.
5. Having been pregnant before. Women who have previously had a baby or two have a higher chance of conceiving with twins.
6. Have a big family. This theory is based on pure maths; the more times you conceive the greater the likelihood of conceiving more than one baby.
7. Get pregnant while you are on the pill. Difficult as this can be overall, there is a higher incidence of women conceiving with twins when they are on oral contraceptives.
8. Try to conceive straight after you have stopped taking the pill. The theory is that for the first couple of cycles the woman’s body is going through a hormonal readjustment phase.
9. Already have a set of twins. Because the likelihood of conceiving with twins again is higher in women who’ve already had them.
10. Be heavier rather than lighter so that you’ve got a higher body mass index (BMI). Some researchers claim that a woman with a BMI of greater than 30 boosts her chances. But considering a healthy range during the fertile years is 20-25 and 30 would put you into the overweight/obese category then this is not a healthy recommendation.
11. Taller women tend to conceive more twins.
12. Take a folic acid supplement before you conceive. The general recommendation for women who are planning to conceive is to start taking folic acid supplements one month before conception.
13. Encourage your partner to eat some oysters. The urban myth about oysters being an aphrodisiac is not entirely without basis. Oysters are high in zinc and this helps with sperm production. The healthier and more mobile his sperm are, the greater the likelihood of being able to fertilise an egg or two. If he’s keen to take supplements, the recommendation for men in their fertile years is 14mg/day. Green leafy vegetables, cereals, bread, seeds and wheat germ are all excellent sources of zinc.
14. Be a twin yourself. Mothers who are twins are more likely to have twin babies. There is no influence on the male partner’s side, only the mothers. But it does seem that fathers may pass the twin gene onto their daughters for their future conception possibilities.
15. Eat more yams/sweet potatoes. It is a fact that more women conceive with twins who live in areas where yams are a major component of their diet. It seems that a naturally occurring chemical component of the yams helps to support ovarian function.
16. Keep breastfeeding your older baby or toddler. Women who are producing prolactin and breastfeeding are more likely to conceive with twins. Though some women do not resume regular ovulation and menstrual cycles for the entire time they are breastfeeding; this is very individual.
What’s fact and what’s fiction when having twins?
- The idea that conceiving twins skips a generation is not true. Although there can appear to be a pattern in some families of this happening, the odds of having identical twins is the same for every woman.
- Eating a diet which is high in dairy foods, milk and meat is said to help, especially at the time of ovulation. But there is no scientific evidence to support this.
- Alternative therapies do not increase the likelihood. There is no scientific evidence to support the theory that acupuncture, naturopathy, aromatherapy, chiropractic or flower essences increase the likelihood of having twins.
Causes of Twins without Treatments
Fertility treatments are not the only cause for twins and higher order pregnancies. Here’s an overview of the other factors that increase your chances of getting pregnant with multiples.
People over 30 are more likely to conceive twins. This is because the hormone FSH rises as a woman gets older. FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, is responsible for the development of eggs in the ovaries before they are released.
As people age, they require higher levels of FSH because their eggs require more stimulation to grow than in a younger woman. This is somewhat ironic given that increased FSH occurs due to lowering fertility. Sometimes, the follicles overreact to higher FSH levels and two or more eggs are released, resulting in a multiple pregnancy.
A family history of identical twins does not necessarily make you more likely to have multiples, although the offspring of male identical twins may be more likely to have their own identical twins. However, if you have fraternal twins (non-identical) in your family, your chances of conceiving twins rise. If there are fraternal twins on both the mother and father’s side, your odds for twins go up even higher.
People who are obese—with a BMI over 30—are more likely to conceive twins than people with a healthier BMI. Extra body fat leads to increased levels of estrogen, and higher levels of estrogen can lead to overstimulation of the ovaries. Instead of releasing just one egg at ovulation, the ovaries may release two or more. Ironically, other factors make it more difficult for some overweight people to conceive.
People who are taller than average are more likely to have twins. One study found that people averaging 164.8 cm in height (about 5’4.8″) were more likely to conceive twins than people averaging 161.8 cm (about 5’3.7″). Why this happens isn’t clear, but one theory is that better nutrition (which may lead to more height) is partially behind the increased rate of twins.
People who conceive while breastfeeding are more likely to conceive twins than people who are not. It’s true that breastfeeding can also suppress fertility and prevent pregnancy, specifically during a baby’s first six months if the baby is exclusively breastfed. However, it is possible to get pregnant when breastfeeding—and with twins!
While research is still ongoing, some studies have found that people who eat a lot of dairy products are more likely to conceive twins. One theory is that the growth hormones given to cows affect the hormone levels in humans.
Twins are more common in people who have carried many pregnancies and have large families. Meanwhile, Blacks also are more likely to conceive twins than white people. Asian people are the least likely to conceive twins.
Odds of Having Twins with Treatments
Fertility treatments that boost ovulation can lead to twins, triplets, or higher order multiples. Conceiving multiples is a potential risk of fertility treatments, and one that can possibly be reduced with careful monitoring, single embryo transfer (for IVF treatment), and the lowest possible effective dosage (when treating with gonadotropins).
You may wonder why conceiving multiples is considered a “risk” and not a potential benefit to fertility treatments. After all, if you’ve been struggling to get pregnant, wouldn’t a double or triple blessing be a good thing? The fact is that multiple pregnancies come with risks to the parent and babies. Your doctor’s goal is for you to conceive and give birth to one healthy baby at a time.
- Twins 3.21%
- Identical twins 0.45%
- Triplets and higher order multiples 0.1%
- Identical twins 0.95%
- Clomid and Femera: 5-12% twins, under 1% higher order multiples
- Gonadotropins: up to 30% twins, up to 5% higher order multiples
- IVF (under age 35): 12.1% twins
- IVF (age 35-37) 9.1% twins
- IVF (age 38-40): 5.3% twins
Not all treatments for infertility increase your odds of twins, but most do. Here are some of the treatments that may lead to twins.
- Gonadotropins (also known as injectables) like Gonal-F and Follistim
- IUI treatment, when used along with fertility drugs
- IVF treatment
Clomid and Femera have the lowest rate of twins, ranging from 5% to 12%. The rate of triplets and higher order multiples is under 1%. Gonadotropins, whether used with or without IUI treatment, have the highest rate of twins.
According to some studies, up to 30% of pregnancies conceived with gonadotropins lead to multiples. Most of these pregnancies are twin pregnancies, but up to 5% are triplet or higher order pregnancies.8
Contrary to popular belief, IVF treatment is not the main source of triplet and higher order pregnancies. Data collected by the CDC indicates that the rate of IVF-conceived triplets in 2014 was 1.5% of pregnancies (but only 0.9% of live births, lower due to pregnancy loss).
IVF twins are relatively common, with the twin rate highest for people younger than 35, at 12.1% per transfer in 2014. The IVF twin rate is lower for people over age 35—9.1% for people aged 35 to 37 and 5.3 for people ages 38 to 40—likely due to the overall decreased success rate as a woman ages.
Chances of Having Identical Twins
In the general population, identical twin pregnancies occur 0.45% of the time, or 1 in 250 births. While most multiple pregnancies conceived with fertility treatments are fraternal twins, the use of fertility treatment increases your risk of having identical twins.
According to one study, identical twins made up 0.95% of the pregnancies conceived with treatment. That’s double the general population’s risk. It’s unclear why fertility treatment leads to more identical twins.
One theory is that the culture embryos are placed in during IVF increases the risk of identical twinning. Another theory is that treatments using gonadotropins lead to the increased risk of identical twins.
Let us know your own tips to having twins in the comment section below.