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Raising Twins (Identical Or Different Looking)- Parenting And Parental Issues

Updated on August 29, 2011


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

Monozygotic (MZ)

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:

  1. Male-female twins (Most common – about 50% of DZ category falls in this group)
  2. Female DZ twins
  3. Male DZ twins

Monozygotic twins are also found in two variations:

  1. Female MZ twins
  2. Male MZ twins (this is least common in this category)

Conjoined Twins
Conjoined Twins

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.

Pregnancy care

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

Weight Gain

Excessive Morning Sickness

Early/Frequent Fetal Movement

Extreme Fatigue


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!

Recent photos of Monozygotic Twins and their parents

Jhampu - One of Monozygotic Twins
Jhampu - One of Monozygotic Twins
Mampu - One of Monozygotic Twins
Mampu - One of Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Monozygotic Twins
Akhilendu & Shashwatee - Parents of Above Monozygotic Twins
Akhilendu & Shashwatee - Parents of Above Monozygotic Twins

From the album of Mampu & Jhampu


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    • cupid51 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from INDIA

      Thank you for the comment. No, neither I am a twin nor I have any. My friend have twins and the pictures are real!

    • BOGOBabies profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Interesting notes on twins. Are you a twin or do you have twins? I enjoyed the pictures you posted--it's fun to see the twins grow up into beautiful women.

    • cupid51 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from INDIA

      Thanks mjfrans! I'm sorry, but I don't have such statistics right now in my hand. I will certainly write a hub on it if I would find the material.

    • mjfarns profile image


      7 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois USA

      This is amazingly thorough and upbeat, despite the subject matter. Thank you very much for putting this together. I'm the father of boy-girl twins. My son is autistic. Did you know that boys who are twins are more likely to be autistic than boys who are not twins? The possible reasons for this might make an interesting hub . . . I'd love to read it if you wrote it!

    • cupid51 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from INDIA

      ShakethaM, I am really sorry for your loss. Glad to know that you found this hub somehow useful!

      Thanks for the reading.

    • ShakethaM07 profile image


      8 years ago from Washington County, Georgia

      Im glad I finially read info like this. I have a daugher who is a twin and since I lost the other 1 during my pregnancy I wanted to learn more but it was painful to read. Thank you for sharing this with us. I could see you work in books and magazines everywhere!

    • cupid51 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from INDIA

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. May God spare his special blessing for your son.

    • Madison22 profile image


      8 years ago from NYC

      This is a very good aricle and well informed. I am a parent of twins: a lovely young man with autism spectrum disorder and a beautiful young lady in college....they are the light of my life. Thank you!

    • cupid51 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from INDIA

      Thank you FCEtier for stopping by. I hope you would at least have some awareness by this!

    • FCEtier profile image


      9 years ago from Cold Mountain

      People keep telling me that I have a twin.....

    • cupid51 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from INDIA

      Thanks Janny for stopping by and reading my hub. It's my pleasure that it fascinates you!

    • JannyC profile image


      9 years ago

      awesome hub. Learned a lot about twins. Its always been fancinating to me.

    • cupid51 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from INDIA

      Thank you carolina for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina



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