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How to increase your chances of having twins?

Updated on November 21, 2015

The chances of having twins may increase by hyper-ovulation, which tends to occur during menstrual cycles via release of more than 1 egg for fertilization. As per studies, 1 in every 89 births results in the conception of twins.

Twins are conceived when one or more eggs get fertilized. Twins can be fraternal or identical. Heterozygous or fraternal twins are born when 2 or more eggs get fertilized after being released during a menstrual cycle. Identical twins are conceived when a fertilized egg reaches the embryonic phase and then splits. In most cases, similar genetic matter occurs in identical twins. However, in other instances, the genetic split may not be equivalent, thereby causing abnormalities like female and male identical twins. As opposed to this, fraternal twins always feature varied genetic series of chromosomes.

Twin pregnancies are usually caused due to accidental division of cell. However, there are many factors which can contribute towards increased chances of having twins. Some of these factors are discussed below.

How to increase your chances of having twins?

Some of the factors that can increase the chances of having twins are as follows:

  • Multiple pregnancies: Women who conceive repeatedly are more likely to give birth to twins.
  • Genetics/family history: Women with a family history of twins are more likely to conceive twins. Thus, women with relatives that have a history of conceiving multiples, may also have inherited the hyper-ovulation gene. The paternal hereditary history is inconsequential as it does not play a role in the conception of twins.
  • Age: Women who become pregnant between the ages of 35 and 40 years are more likely to have twins. This is because of the occurrence of hormonal alterations during the perimenopausal period as well as increased secretion of the follicle stimulating hormones or FSH. Sometimes, the follicles tend to react to the increased FSH levels, which then triggers the release of more than one egg during menstrual cycles. This then increases the chances of having twins.
    • It may however be noted that increased age comes with low fertility rates and low egg quality. Hence, it is suggested not to wait till the 40s to conceive a child, let alone twins.
    • Race and ethnicity: Statistics have shown that African-American women have higher chances of conceiving twins as compared to other races. Asian women have the lowest probability of having twins.
    • Fertility treatments: The use of fertility medications may increase the chances of having twins, especially fraternal twins. These drugs tend to cause ovary stimulation leading to hyper-ovulation.
      • In vitro fertilization or IVF is a procedure marked by implantation of embryo in the uterus. If the physician implants more than one embryo in the uterus, then the chances of giving birth to twins or multiples increases, if and when two or more of these implanted embryos mature.
      • An IUI or intrauterine insemination is a procedure wherein the doctor uses a syringe to put sperms in a woman’s uterus. This process by itself does not increase the chances of having twins. However, when IUI is combined with the use of hyper ovulation-causing fertility drugs, then it may result in the conception of twins.
      • Gain in weight: Studies indicate that an increase in weight or overweight women have higher chances of giving birth to twins. The same is the case with tall women due to their relatively greater body weight. However, gaining weight or being overweight is not the preferred method for having twins, nor will doctors recommend it, as excess body weight can also increase the risk to varied health issues.
      • Intake of folic acid supplements: Some studies have shown that intake of folic acid supplements increases the chances of having twins, while other studies have not produced the same results. Women may however continue taking folic acid supplements, irrespective of their desire to birth twins, as folic acid is good for overall pregnancy health and because it also prevents any defects of the neural tube.
      • Dairy products intake: It may be noted that milk has properties that cause stimulation of the ovaries leading to increased production of eggs. This in turn can raise the chances of birthing twins. Hence, women who want to have twins may consume dairy products. In fact, studies show that women who intake dairy products and milk, about 5 times a day, have a higher rate of conceiving twins than those who do not consume dairy items.
      • Birth control pills: When women who are taking birth control pills on a regular basis stop using this form of contraception, then it causes an imbalance in the levels of hormones. Such women usually take 2 to 3 menstrual cycles for the hormones to become balanced and start functioning in a normal manner. During this 2 to 3 month period, the hormones tend to be excessively stimulated, which can then lead to hyper-ovulation or the release of more than one egg during menstrual cycles. This increases the chances of having twins. Thus, women who want to give birth to twins may try conceiving just after they quit the regular intake of birth control pills.
      • Breastfeeding: Studies have shown that women who are still breastfeeding or nursing their toddler during a new pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of conceiving twins.Thus women with babies may continue feeding and not begin the weaning process if they wish to have twins in the next immediate pregnancy. Some research has indicated that the chances of having twins increases by 9 times, if conception occurs when still breastfeeding.
      • Eating cassava roots/wild yams: There is a town called Igbo-Ora in the African continent which is famous for a very peculiar thing; it has the most number of cases wherein women have had twins. It is believed that this unique scenario occurs due to the diet of the women in this town. They regularly eat wild yams or cassava roots. The peelings of these yams have a chemical which triggers hyper-ovulation in women.
        • It may be noted that there is no medical study or evidence available to support this theory, i.e., the link between having twins and yams in the diet. However, there is no harm in eating yams as they are tasty, nutritious, and do not cause any side effects. So eat them and it may just help you conceive twins.

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