What are the odds of having twins?
In the past years, multiple births have been multiplying at a fast rate. Newest studies report that the number of twin births has increased by nearly 75% in the past 30 years. In the U.S in 1980, only 18.9 sets of twins were born per 1,000 births. In 2014, 33,9 sets of twins were born per 1,000 births, according to a report on birth data.
When it comes to having twins, not all regions are equal. Central Africa holds the top for the highest twin birth rate, while Asia and Latin America have much lower rates of twin births, according to an international study.
Scientists have created twins databases for 76 developing countries. They include data on approximately 2.5 million births by nearly 1.4 million women. The numbers showed that on average, 13.6 twins per 1,000 births were born. This is comparable with intermediate rates seen in Australia, the United States, and many European countries of 9 to 16 per 1,000 births between 1987 and 2010.
How twin conception happens
If you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant with twins, it’s important to understand how they are conceived.
There are two different types of twins:
- Identical: formed when one egg is fertilized by one sperm. The egg then divides into two separate embryos. Identical twins might share a placenta and an amniotic sac or the twins might share a placenta and each have separate amniotic sacs. Genetically, the two babies are identical.
- Non-identical: formed from two separate eggs, fertilized by two separate sperm. Non-identical twins have their own placenta and their own unique genetic composition.
Factors that influence your chances of getting pregnant with twins
What’s causing this multiple-baby boom? Experts say the following are a few of the factors behind twin birth:
If twins run in your family, then you have greater chances of carrying twins. Heredity doubles your chances if it’s on your mom’s side. Your partner’s family tree might be bursting with twins but this won’t increase your odds.
Ethnicity is another factor that can increase your chances of carrying two babies aboard your mothership. Black women are more likely than Caucasian women to give birth to twins. Asian and Hispanic women have even fewer chances than Caucasians to get pregnant with two or more kids at a time.
The highest rates of twin births are seen in Central Africa, especially in the Yoruba ethnic group, with more than 18 twins per 1,000 births. The twinning rates in Asia and Latin America are less than eight per 1,000 births.
Your odds of having twins go up with each pregnancy.. And if you've had given birth to twins before, you're more likely to do so again.
Being an older women can help. Studies have shown that women who are over 35 years have higher chances of getting pregnant with non-identical twins. This is likely because woman’s ovaries start releasing more than one egg each month,. Another cause is that older women had higher levels of a hormone called FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone).
Some researchers claim that women with a higher body mass index (BMI) have higher chances of carrying twins. A BMI of 25 or higher is termed overweight, while 30 and above is considered obese. Women who were obese before pregnancy are significantly more likely to give birth to non-identical twins, However, doctors don’t advise women who want twins to gain weight.
How to improve your chances of having twins
If you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant with twins, try these options out:
Some evidence points that unhealthy eating habits can harm fertility. What’s more, they suggest that consuming certain foods can increase your chances of carrying twins.
Experts say that women who have a low-fat diet, including a vegetarian and vegan diet, are less likely to have twins. On the other hand, women who eat a diet rich in protein and dairy are more likely to have twins. This might be due to subtle hormonal changes in women with different diets, or due to a higher body mass index.
Some studies have found that women who eat a lot of dairy products have higher chances of conceiving twins. This might be due to the growth hormones given to cows that might affect the hormone levels in humans.
Fertility medications are one of the most popular ways to get pregnant with twins. They increase fertility by stimulating sperm or egg production. If more eggs are produced, it’s more likely that more than one egg will be released and fertilized. Clomiphene and gonadotropins are the most common fertility drugs.
What’s more, there’s an idea that you can get pregnant with twins right after you come off the pill. The idea behind this is that after coming off the pill, your body goes through a hormonal readjustment period during which more eggs can be released.
Pause between pregnancies
Another way of how to get pregnant with twins is having enough gap between your pregnancies. If you get pregnant very quickly after having a child, you’re decreasing your chances of having twins.
Among the best ways of how to get pregnant with twins is through fertility treatment, such as IVF.
During the IVF process, the doctor extracts eggs, retrieves a sperm sample, and then manually combines an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus.
Is it possible to improve your chances to have twins, or is it all just old wives' tales?
Certainly, there are many myths surrounding the concept of getting pregnant with twins. For example, the idea that conceiving twins skips a generation is untrue. There’s also plenty of discussions on how alternative therapies can increase the likelihood, but there’s not enough evidence to support this.
Women who use fertility drugs and IVF are more likely to have multiples.
Although a woman has higher chances of conceiving with twins if she uses assisted reproduction techniques, there are also many women who get pregnant with twins naturally. There are many factors at play, including a woman’s age, genetics, weight, and a history with twins, among others.
Having twins may sound desirable for many couples, especially because with twins, the joy at every stage of parenting is doubled. However, the best choice is to aim for a healthy baby. Always consult with your doctor and follow their recommendations and tips for a healthy pregnancy, with one or multiple babies aboard.