Having twins is not as uncommon as we believe. In fact, reproductive experts are certain that human beings have a lot more twin pregnancies than we are actually aware of. In fact, there is evidence that more than one embryo is usually implanted but the one that is more viable survives.
So, if you want to have twins, there are a few steps that you can take to make that happen for you. This is because the actual conception is not that rare. Ensuring that both the embryos are viable is the only challenge.
Read: Baby's First Kick And Every Other Fetal Movement You Need To Know About!
The Science of Why Twins Are Born
People have always been fascinated with twins and other multiples. Somehow it all seems mysterious how a single pregnancy can bring in more than one baby!!! Multiple pregnancies have been increasing with more twins being born. The reason for this rise is the increased use of fertility drugs and IVFs.
Types of Twins
Twins account for over 90 per cent of multiple births. There are two types of twins – identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic). There are two types of twins that humans can reproduce:
- Identical: Identical twins are born when the egg that is fertilized by a sperm divides into two embryos. That is why their genetic information is exactly the same. Why this happens is still unknown to science, and may still remain a mystery of Mother Nature.
- Fraternal: Non-identical or fraternal twins are born when two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperms. This happens when the ovaries produce multiple ovums or eggs that get fertilized. Multiple ovums can happen because the mother is producing more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
Why do some people have twins and some don’t?
Although conceiving identical twins can be termed sheer chance, science has narrowed down many factors that can influence the probability of having twins:
- Heredity: It is common to have twins if you have the twin gene running in your family. It is more likely for a couple to have twins if the mother has several twins in her family.
- Age: If you conceive later in life, the chances are higher of you having fraternal twins. This is because women who are aged 35 or older produce more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH is the female hormone that causes an ovum to mature each month and with extra FSH women can release more than one egg in a single cycle. While it’s actually harder for older women to get pregnant, when they do they’re more likely to have twins.
- Number of pregnancies: If you have been pregnant before, you have a higher chance of having twins. This is because of the ability of the body to support the fertilized embryos is better after the first pregnancy.
- Race: It has been observed that twins are most common among white and African American people. Twins have been observed less among Hispanic and Asian people.
- Body type: Research has shown that fraternal twins are more common in larger and taller women than in small women.
Read: Stage wise development of fetus (0-9 months)
What you can do to improve your chances of having twins
If you are very keen on having twins, here are a few things that you may try:
#1. Try to conceive when you are older
Getting pregnant when older rather than younger helps in birthing twins. Just before a woman enters her menopause phase, her ovaries go into overdrive by releasing more than one egg every month. This hike it fertility is is also influenced by a surge of oestrogen and Fertility follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
#2. In-vitro Fertilization
You can opt for IVF or in-vitro fertilization and this almost always results in birth of multiples. Even taking fertility medication helps to stimulate egg production in your ovaries and improves your chances of having twins.
#3. Plan for a big family
The more children you have, the more likely it is that you will conceive and support multiple embryos. So choose this path only if you’re ready for a houseful kids running around!
#4. Stop contraceptives
If you are on contraceptives, you can try to get pregnant immediately after you have stopped taking these medicines as you tend to have higher egg production because your body goes through a hormonal readjustment phase.
#5. Take folic acid supplements
When you decide to conceive, you may take folic supplements to improve your chances of having twins. And be sure to do this atleast a couple of months before you start planning.
#6. Eat foods that facilitate egg production
Foods like sweet potato and yam support ovarian function and will help you conceive twins by improving egg production. This has been supported by extended research as women found living in the areas where sweet potatoes and yams are cultivated have found to be having twin pregnancies.
#7. Prolong Weaning
If you already have a baby, prolong the weaning process. The longer you breastfeed, the higher are your chances of conceiving twins as your ovulation tends to improve.
A word of caution about twin pregnancies
Before you proceed with any of this, do check with your gynecologist to make sure that your body is in a condition to support a twin pregnancy.
- Whenever you decide to take any supplements to aid pregnancy, you need to consult a gynecologist.
- There are several new technologies that can help couples who want two or more children but do not want to go through multiple pregnancies. So explore your options.
- Always remember that there is a higher risk for complications in twin pregnancies. You will be monitored for the normal complications of pregnancy like high blood pressure, and fetal growth but the chances of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm labor are quite high.
- Twins have higher incidences of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), twin to twin transfusion (TTTS) and congenital malformations so keep all your appointments religiously and watch your diet closely.
Also Read: Birth Defects – Causes, Solutions, and Cure
Let us know, how did you manage to have twins - naturally or through IVF? Share below!
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