Chubby cheeks, gummy grins, innocent puppy-dog eyes and juicy thighs ― yes, babies sure are adorable… Even more so when you’ve got two or more at the same time!
Indeed, twins and multiples often attract attention wherever they go. If you’re raising twins (especially identical ones), we bet you love dressing them in matching clothes.
Your chances of delivering identical twins ― where a fertilised egg divides into two ― is around 0.3 to 0.5 per cent. As for fraternal twins ― when two eggs (released in one cycle because of hyperovulation) are fertilised by two different sperm ― the rate has steadily increased over the years because of fertility treatment.
Ho Kei Shan, mum to twins Shane and Spencer, 2, wasn’t surprised to find that she was expecting twins. “My mum had a twin sister and one of my cousins has twin boys, too. It very clearly runs in my family.”
Still, besides genetics, several other factors may increase your chances of conceiving twins and multiples naturally.
1. History of twins
If you’ve already got a set of twins, brace yourself ― there’s a good chance your next pregnancy might be another set of twins! According to a report by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, if your first set of twins were fraternal, then your chances of producing another set of fraternal twins is multiplied by four! But if your first set of twins were identical, then your chances of having another set of identical twins drops way down to 1 in 70,000 or so.
If your first set of twins were fraternal, then your chances of producing another set of fraternal twins is multiplied by four! But if your first set of twins were identical, then your chances of having another set of identical twins drops way down to 1 in 70,000 or so.
2. Age of the mum
Researchers at Vrije University Medical Centre in the Netherlands found that older mums (aged over 35) have higher levels of a hormone called FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), which means that they may release more than one egg in every cycle. This means they have a greater likelihood of having fraternal twins.
If your first set of twins were fraternal, then your chances of producing another set of fraternal twins is multiplied by four!
3. Number of children you’ve had
With every successive pregnancy, your chances of falling pregnant with twins increases. This could be simply be a matter of odds ― the more pregnancies you have, the greater your chances of striking gold. That, and the fact that you’re older after each pregnancy (see point 2).
4. Your geographical location matters
A Caucasian woman is more likely to have twins than one who’s of Hispanic or Asian descent. However, twins are most common in Central Africa. In Nigeria, for example, around one in 22 women give birth to twins. And the rate is rising ― simply because thanks to genes, twins keep occurring generation after generation.
5. Being overweight
According to a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who were overweight before they fell pregnant are more likely to have fraternal twins, although identical twins are not linked to their mother’s weight. A diet high in fat also increases your chances of multiples. Some experts say that this is nature’s way of knowing if you’ll be able to sustain a multiple pregnancy.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine found that an insulin-like growth factor has been linked positively to a woman’s height and her ability to conceive twins. The study also found that on average, multiple-birth mums were more than an inch (2.54cm) taller than mums who had single babies.
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