My Little Masterpiece

What are My Chances of Having Twins?

Twins are actually more common than most of us realise; more than one embryo is often fertilised, it’s just that in many cases, only one goes on to develop into a baby. So what will up the odds of you actually giving birth to a pair of babies? Check out the factors that will influence your chances.

Mummy with twins

“Identical twins, which make up around a third of twin pregnancies, come from one egg and are basically a fluke of nature – there’s no known common factor in those,” says consultant obstetrician David Davies. “But with non-identical twins or triplets, which come from different eggs, there are several shared influences.”

Your family history

It’s the maternal family tree that counts here, not the paternal.

“…if you or your mum are twins, or perhaps your sister has multiple babies, then you’ll be more likely to conceive more than one,’ says David.

Your lifestyle

According to research, women following low-fat, vegan and vegetarian diets are less likely to have multiples than those who consume foods higher in fats as well as animal products.

“The possible causes of this are subtle hormonal changes in people with these different diets, as well as perhaps someone with a higher fat diet having a higher body mass index (BMI) – that’s a measure for checking how healthy your weight is in relation to your height,” explains David.

Number of children you have

This is not so much a causal factor as it is a predictor of future fertility. “There’s also the possibility that if you’ve always become pregnant easily in the past, you’re basically a good ovulator, so to speak,” says David.

Maternal age

As a woman ages, her ovaries may release more than one egg each month—usually between 30 and 40—sort of a failsafe mechanism to guarantee procreation before the ‘biological clock’ ticks out.

Where you’re from

Western Europe has around one twin pregnancy in every 60 pregnancies—the number is much lower in South East Asia. Nigeria, on the other hand, has one pair of twins for every 20 or 30 pregnancies! Fascinatingly, this is not necessarily down to geographical genetics, but simply geography itself: “There are no real theories I’m aware of that would account for this, but interestingly if you’re Nigerian and living in another country, you’re less likely to conceive multiples than if you’re based in Nigeria – so perhaps it’s to do with diet or climate,” says David.

Fertility treatment

Fertility treatments, such as IVF, are obvious ways to boost your chances of conceiving multiples, effectively stimulating ovaries to produce more eggs; and because these treatments are more common, the prevalence of twins appears much greater these days. “When IVF started to get really affective in the US during the 1970s and 1980s, twin rates pretty much doubled,’ says David.

Via motherandbaby