The reasons may vary, but many couples hope to conceive twins. The main reason is to have siblings that can grow and support one another. Another reason is the desire to start building a family sooner than later.
I Want to Have Twins
The possibility of multiple births occurs in a little under three percent of all U.S. births annually. But science has discovered there are things you as potential parents can do to increase the chances of having twins.
The following information is about having twins naturally and does not factor infertility treatment.
What are Your Chances of Having Twins?
Take a look at the following list. The more factors that apply to you or your significant other, the greater the chance you may have twins.
- If there are already twins in the family, especially on the mother's side, you have a greater chance of having multiple babies.
- Women who have already had multiple pregnancies dramatically maximize the chance of having twins. This is seen in large families of at least 12 children. Often, these families have sets of twins and triplets.
- Studies show that people of Asian and Hispanic culture are less likely to conceive twins. People of African descent have the greatest chance of having twins.
- Waiting to have a child can impact twinning. Women who waited until they were in their mid-30s were twice as likely to have twins.
- Being well nourished — even overweight — increases the chance of twin conception. Research implies women with a BMI of 30 boosts, or higher are more likely to have twins.
- This is something you have no control over, but taller women are more likely to have twins than women of the same age who are of average height or shorter.
- A female twin has a greater chance of having twins.
Is Age a Factor to Have Twins?
Yes, age does appear to matter. While older women are less likely to get pregnant in the first place, statistics show they are more likely to have twins. Women between 40 and 45 are between seven and 17 percent more likely to have twins. This data falls in line with the idea that women who have already had children are more likely to have twins.
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What Type of Twins am I More Likely to Have?
In general, the average woman has a one in 350–400 chance of having identical twins. Those chances increase based on the above criteria.
It's estimated that a quarter of identical twin births are mirrored twins. Not many people are even aware of this rarity. Mirrored twins are exactly what it sounds like, twins that have reversed characteristics.
One will be left handed, the other right. A birthmark on one twin's shoulder will be on the opposite shoulder of the sibling. There has even been bizarre physicality like opposite teeth and reversed skeletal features.
Fraternal twins happen once in 60 twin births.
Some Truths About Having Twins
Even taking into account factors listed above, overall, the odds of any women having twins is about the same.
- There is no such thing as twins skipping a generation.
- There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that a diet high in dairy foods, meat, and milk — especially during ovulation — increases the possibility of twinning. (More on this later.)
- There is no research to support the idea that therapies like naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractics, aromatherapy or flower essences increase the likelihood of conceiving twins. Those who believe otherwise may have simply been the recipients of a happy coincidence.
Can a Sexual Position Increase Twinning?
You can find a ton of information that implies a sexual position can influence the possibility of having twins, but it's more hopeful hype than anything.
Remember; twins are the result of (i) the woman releasing two eggs at the same time and then being fertilized by sperm or (ii) a fertilized egg splitting in two.
In other words, the factors that create twins will be in place before even beginning sex. Ergo, the position should not have any impact on the outcome.
What Can I Do to Increase My Chances of Having Twins?
A study in Australia uncovered a correlation between women that conceived twins and folic acid supplements. According to the research, women who consumed folic acid before getting pregnant had a 40 percent or greater chance of conceiving twins.
Unfortunately, there are also studies that contradict those results. But folic acids are still a good idea for pre-pregnancy. As a supplement, they can prevent neural tube defects.
If you already have a child, continue breastfeeding. A study concluded that women breastfeeding were nine times more likely to conceive twins compared to women who were not breastfeeding.
If you were on birth control pills and stopped to conceive, this may be the best time to make a pair of babies. The body of a woman that's been taking the pills for at least six months has to wait for her hormones to begin regulating themselves, as opposed to the pills controlling them.
There can be up to eight weeks for the system to correct itself. For twinning, the medical community considers this a benefit as too much hormone stimulation can cause ovaries to release an extra egg early in anovulatory cycle or two. This means a greater likelihood of conceiving twins.
Despite our argument above, there are as many studies that support consuming dairy products as there are that shoot it down. It is a fact that vegans and vegetarians are significantly less likely to have twins, which implies meat may play some part in twin conception.
So the argument becomes is a regular diet of milk and dairy derived from hormone-treated cows a factor in twinning? We don't know. We would suggest you continue your regular diet and hope for the best!
Eat Wild Yams
Speaking of diet, wild yams has a chemical that appears to overstimulate ovaries. This can result in more than a single egg release during ovulation.
This data derives from a study done in a small town in Nigeria where the birth of twins was four times greater than the rest of the world. Researchers could only conclude diet played the greatest part, especially a cassava root the townspeople ate regularly, or wild yam.
Have More Children
Build your family. Remember, larger families are more likely to conceive twins. That means, based on pure math, the more children you have, the greater your chances.
What are the Odds of Having Twins?
Twins of any type – 1:40
Spontaneously fraternal twins – 1:60
Identical twins – 1:240
2nd set of identical twins – 1:62,500
Two sets of fraternal twins – 1:5
If mom is fraternal twin – 1:20-25
Conjoined twins – 1:60,000
Twins in Australia – 1:66
Twins in UK – 1:72
Twins in Canada – 1:89
Twins in Japan – 1:166
Twins in Nigeria – 1:22
Twins if using Clomid – 1:5
Odds of Having Twins by Ethnicity
White under 20 – 1:66
White between 20 & 24 – 1:50 (1997)
White between 25 & 29 – 1:39 (1997)
White between 30 & 34 – 1:31 (1997)
White between 35 & 39 – 1:27 (1997)
White between 40 & 44 – 1:23
White between 45 & 49 – 1:6
White between 50 & 54 – 1:3
Black under 20 – 1:54
Black between 20 & 29 – 1:33
Black between 30 & 39 – 1:28
Black between 40 & 49 – 1:38
Hispanic under 20 – 1:80
Hispanic between 20 & 29 – 1:56
Hispanic between 30 & 39 – 1:39
Hispanic between 40 & 49 – 1:42
What are the Odds of Having Triplets?
Having triplets in U.S. – 1:517
Spontaneously conceived triplets – 1:8,100
White under 20 – 1:6,800
White between 20 & 29 – 1:1,100
White between 30 & 39 – 1:350
White between 40 & 49 – 1:290
Black under 20 – 1:3,600
Black between 20 & 29 – 1:1,600
Black between 30 & 39 – 1:740
Black between 40 & 49 – 1:570
Hispanic under 20 – 1:5,100
Hispanic between 20 & 29 – 1:2,200
Hispanic between 30 & 39 – 1:810
Hispanic between 40 & 49 – 1:700
Having Twins is Still Up to Chance
Understand that we don't get to pick our family. At the end of the day, the natural conception of twins borders on nothing less than miraculous.
While fertility treatments are certainly an option, but naturally, the twinning process is completely random.
When the times comes, instead of lamenting not having the twins you craved, bask in the idea you are getting ready to share your love with someone that's going to need you for their entire lives.