Raising Twins (Identical Or Different Looking)- Parenting And Parental Issues
Although it’s amazing to see two identical babies roaming around the house playing and dancing, most of the people wouldn’t desire to have their own offspring as twins! It’s because of the uncertainty of normalcy, life threat for the mother and babies in pregnancy and the difficulty in raising the twins!
I have seen several twins since their childhood, talked to them, talked to their parents and have gathered some vital information which I thought would be worth sharing with my friends through the hub pages.
I have also studied some genetical information which also I would share through this.
First of all we would see what is twin?A twin is defined as one of two offspring produced in the same pregnancy and born at the same birth process.
Twins may be identical both physically and mentally, may be only physically identical but not mentally! Both twins may be of same sex or different sex! There are lots of possibilities! Even they may share one or more organs of the body! These uncertainties make the would-be parents reluctant to accept twins in their own life.
Population of twins
Approximately 125 million living twins were registered in 2006 which is 1.9% (approx) of the world population.
Types of twins
There are two basic types of twins which is categorized based on zygosity i.e. degree of identity in the genome of twins.
Dizygotic (DZ) and
Dizygotic twins also called fraternal twins or non-identical twins and Monozygotic twins are called as identical twins.
Dizygotic again sub divided in to three categories:
- Male-female twins (Most common – about 50% of DZ category falls in this group)
- Female DZ twins
- Male DZ twins
Monozygotic twins are also found in two variations:
- Female MZ twins
- Male MZ twins (this is least common in this category)
Some genetic information
When two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperm cells independently then DZ twins result.
Monozygotic twins occur when a single egg is fertilized to form one zygote which then divides into two separates embryos.
A majority (60 -70 %) of monozygotic twins share the same placenta but have separate amniotic sacs, 18 – 30 % of monozygotic twins have separate placenta and separate amniotic sacs, and only 1 – 2 % monozygotic twins share the same placenta and same amniotic sacs.
Dizygotic twins each have their own separate placenta and own amniotic sac,
Conjoined twins are also monozygotic twins whose bodies are joined together during pregnancy. This occurs when the single zygote of MZ twins fails to separate completely and the zygote starts to split after day 12 following fertilization. Now a day most of the conjoined twins are being separated by the surgery after their birth.
Probability of Twin Birth
For MZ twins it is only 0.03 % of total birth uniformly distributed in all population around the world.
For DZ twins it is not uniform in all the countries. It varies from 0.6% to 2.4% roughly. The percentage is more in India and US.
It has also been noticed that for normal fertilization it is only 0.3% but in case of test tube baby i.e. IVF (IN vitro fertilization) it is around 2.1% of total birth.
Some of the most common myths regarding twins and multiples are described bellow.
Twins have ESP (extrasensory perception)
The most common misconception is that, twins have some type of paranormal connection i.e. they can feel each other’s pain, read each other’s thought can finish each other’s incomplete sentences. But scientists say that this same phenomenon can be exhibited by any two persons who are closely bonded like husband-wife, close siblings and good friends.
Twins look alike and difficult to identify
All twins are not identical looking. Only Monozygotic twins are identical looking. But even for the Monozygotic twins there are some subtle differences which can be understood by the parents or the person who are closely observing them.
The elder is a leader and the other is a follower
First of all we should understand that the time difference between the two births is a few minutes or even sometimes seconds! If the birth is taken place by caesarean section it is more difficult to identify who is elder. Therefore if the leadership quality is found in one of the twins it is due to the environmental influence and not due to their birth status.
Twins are always the best of friends.
It is understood that the bond between twins is unique and special. But twins and other multiples are not automatically exclusive buddies. They enjoy friendships and relationships with other kids also just like singleton siblings. Their relationship also depends on the parenting quality and environmental influence.
Twins are always in competition
Sibling rivalry might be there in twins just like singletons. This also depends on the parenting quality and environmental influence.
Twins should be separated in school
There is no evidence that twins excel if placed in separate classrooms, or that they fail if kept together. Rather their separation can actually be detrimental to their educational experience. Every pair of twins is different, and several factors should be considered when evaluating the school placement issue, including their family atmosphere and other environmental issues.
It is extremely important to take special care when the pregnancy is for twin or multiple. The very first question is the pregnancy is for twin or multiple? How can we confirm it?
The best method to know whether it is a twin or singleton is ultrasound. Consult your doctor regularly and he will confirm it after an ultrasound test.
Although not full-proof there are some other methods also namely:
Doppler Heartbeat Count
Elevated HcG Levels
Abnormal AFP Test Results
Measuring Large for Gestational Age
Excessive Morning Sickness
Early/Frequent Fetal Movement
These methods can only be used by an expert, so nobody should take a decision on their own. Remember that this is a vital issue and if it is a twin pregnancy and not detected in time it may create further complications.
What is the risk?
Physical strain and Emotional strain for carrying twin or multiple babies may cause fatigue to the mother.
There is a probability of Gestational Diabetes for the mother carrying twins or multiples.
Whether there is a single, shared or multiple placentas, mothers of twins or multiples are at greater risk for complications of placenta.
Sometimes Heart problem may also occur to the mother carrying twins or multiples.
These are some of the risks which might be faced by the mother of twins or multiples. But if regular care is taken as per the advice of your doctor there is nothing to be worried about.
Most important is regular checkup by your doctor and follow his/her instructions.
Parental issues and tips for raising your twins
Once the delivery is completed and the mother and twins arrived home, the second and most crucial part of the episode would start. This is the raising part of the twins.
The first problem is faced by the mother is feeding them. It is important to see that if not advised otherwise by the doctor, the twins should be breast-fed. It is known that the first yellow milk of the mother is elixir for the babies especially for the twins because they are born premature (at least 3 weeks earlier) in most of the cases. This milk increases the immune power of babies.
Where external feed is required twins have to feed simultaneously, so that you might not be confused which twin you have fed.
This practice you should follow not only in case of feeding but in every occasion when you give something to the twins.
Sibling rivalry is most common in the case of twins. This is a vital parental concern. Parents have to be alert to avoid any such circumstances where any one of the twins might feel themselves a victim of partiality.
Another problem faced by the twins is the identity crisis. Most of the parents use to give same type of dresses to their twins. Although it’s an eye soothing experience for the viewers, it is most irritating for the twins. I have personally talked to some of the twins and they have admitted that they don’t like same type of clothes because they lose their identity by this. Like every singleton child they also want to have the ownership on their personal beings including their clothes and toys.
Parents should give equal importance to each of the twins. Sometimes it is found that parents divide their responsibility to look after their twins among themselves. This is not wise. Each twin should have equal chance to be attached to each of the parents. If it is inevitable to distribute the responsibility then rotate it also frequently.
Finally I would like to say that if parents are concerned, raising twins would not be as much difficult as it is projected by others.
Your additional effort and labor would be compensated by what you would get in return, the double love and double fun!