Under usual circumstances, your chance of getting pregnant with twins is quite slim.
In retrospect, the conception of twins is a natural occurrence that generally happens when there is a union between a pair of eggs and sperms (fraternal) or an egg split into two and two sperms (identical). Normally, one egg is fertilized by a single sperm to end up with regular birth. Twinning occurs when for some reason more eggs are released by the mother or the egg released by the mother is divided into during fertilization.
But if such phenomenon is natural and purely based on chance, are there any possible ways to increase the chances of getting pregnant with twins?
Yes, we’d like to think so.
We’ve been hearing the same questions for years and have found out that many parents are welcoming the idea of conceiving twins if fate permits them to. However, relying on pure fate and no action doesn’t really do anything to boost such chance.
Remember, twins happen in 1 out of 89 births only and the odds may not be in your favor if you don’t understand the possible steps you should take to successfully build the family you’ve always wanted.
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This is the part where you actually have no real control over but we have to admit it plays a huge part in the whole twin pregnancy phenomena.
Consider tracing your family line and check if any close or even distant relatives ever had fraternal twins. And if the “twin gene” runs in the family, then one can hope you’ll soon have your own. After all, it all depends on your possibility of releasing more than just one egg.
However, you don’t have any reason to rejoice if the twin history runs in your husband’s family because it doesn’t affect your chances at all. The sperm just does its regular job anyway. Conception of identical twins is not affected by genetics.
Remember that while you cannot change anything about your genes or family history, it’s best to understand how such factor affects your probability to conceive twins.
Surprisingly, even the body built of women plays a huge role in dictating the likelihood of conceiving twins.
A study conducted by Obstetrics and Gynecology presented facts that heavier women have higher chances of getting pregnant with twins. Researchers also claim that women with more than 30 BMI and are still not under the obese category can more easily conceive twins than lighter mothers.
However, to remain healthy at such BMI level means you also have to have a taller built so it’s more of a balance between weight and height, after all.
3. Race and Age
Apparently, even your race can vary your chances of having twins. If you’re of the African/American heritage, you’re off a good start because women with such ethnic background have higher occurrence of twin pregnancies. In Japan, fraternal and identical twin rates ranges from 6 out of one thousand births while 14 and more out of one thousand births in several African countries for fraternal twins.
For identical twins, the rate is at 15 out of one thousand in parts of India and increases up to a rate of 20 in several countries in Central Africa. On the other hand, older mothers are more likely to conceive twins.
Studies show that mothers over the age of 35 who enters the peri-menopausal stage have more tendency to release more eggs–this increasing the possibility of conceiving twins. This known fertility spike which is quite ironic is also affected by the sudden increase of estrogen levels. Note that this factor only affects the probability of having fraternal twins.
4. Folic Acid
Another recommended step is to take folic acid supplements one month before conception. A study found that there’s an evident link between folic acid and multiple births. The study even explained that a mother who took folic acid before getting pregnant will have a 40% or more chance of having twins than a mother who did not take any.
However, arguments over such claim are widespread and show results on the contrary. Still, it’s recommended to take folic acid as it helps prevent neural tube issues which is a great relief even if you’re not planning to have twins.
If you’re already a mother and has been nurturing your kid through breastfeeding, we suggest for you to continue what you’re doing.
A study on twins claim that women who breastfeed during conception are 9 times more likely to have twins than women who don’t. However, some women do not continue their regular ovulation when breastfeeding but this is entirely a case-to-case basis.
A study by Dr. Steinman, a known researcher on multiple births, discovered that mothers who eat dairy have 5 times more chance of having twins than mothers who don’t. In the study, vegan women on regular diet were compared with vegetarian women who regularly ate dairy. Results showed the the chances of having twins are slim for the vegans.
Although the idea of that a simple dairy consumption can have such huge effects on pregnancy is a little too far-fetched, experts say that the increased chances should be associated directly to the growth hormones found in these dairy products as these are usually produced from growth hormone treated cows. Indeed, it was found that the insulin-like growth factor (ICGF) present in dairy products boosts the chances of fraternal twinning. The effect of ICGF is most prevalent in ovarian stimulation.
Other ideas include eating more yams or sweet potatoes. The basis of this claim is mainly influenced by the fact that twin pregnancy are more common in women living in areas where yams are a regular part of the everyday diet. And just like ICGF, yams are also known to support the ovarian function.
It must be said, however, that a number of critics are still unconvinced whether diet and food intake can actually change the rates of twin pregnancy and increase the chances of mothers to succeed in such pursuit.
7. Fertility Assistance
If you really, really want to have twins then you can consider getting fertility assistance. This is probably your best option as it is backed up by science and medicine–which, safe to say, are quite reliable and not merely based on chance.
Fertility drugs are effective stimulants of the ovaries increasing the likelihood of releasing more than just one egg during the ovulation stage. According to March of Dimes, fertility drugs alone can already boosts chances of multiple births even without the aid of other technology-driven medical procedures. They also claim that fertility drugs are responsible in 1 out of 5 multiple births which is undoubtedly a high percentage.
Albeit effective, fertility drugs also present a high risk of complications, prematurity issues, and even health problems on the offspring if not properly used. On the other hand, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), a series of complex procedures which involve the process of manually combining the egg and sperm in a dish. IVF gives the mother a 20-40% chance of having twins. Most IVF patients request for twins but doctors are transparent in letting parents know of possible complications involved in multiple birthing such as preterm birth, low birth weight, birth defects, risks to the mother, and even infant death. For the mother, the possible side effects of IVF are constipation, mild bloating, cramping, and breast tenderness. In case other effects such as pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding occurs, it is best to seek the help of medical professionals immediately.
Another known medical procedures is the intrauterine insemination (IUI), a process where the sperms are placed in the uterus through a syringe. While this fertility treatment does not necessarily increase the chances of multiple births, more and more parents resort to the use of this procedures and take fertility drugs to get conceive twins.
Fertility drugs, IVF and IUI could boost the probability of having fraternal twins. Nevertheless, parents undergoing IVF also have an increased rate of conceiving even identical twins. So that’s it, we’ve covered almost everything you need to know.
Conceiving twins may take more than just a miracle–it also depends on your effort and knowledge on the whole matter. Keep in mind that these measures do not give assurance that you’ll soon be pregnant with your twins. Instead, use these are your guide in understanding where your chances stand right now and what you can do to improve it.
In the end, whether you’ll give birth to just one baby or twins, the most important thing to consider is your ability to commit to taking care of your future kids. Pregnancy is definitely harder for a mother expecting twins but with enough precaution and medical attention, the safest conception and delivery can be achieved.
We hope that as you set on this journey and attempt to have twin babies of your own, you’ll realize that every baby is a blessing. Good luck and may you have a safe and happy pregnancy!