If you are dreaming of having twins, your dream might not be so far fetched. Several factors influence your chances of having double the cuteness. There has been an increase of 75% twin births since 1980, so it’s safe to say that the chances of you having twins is not entirely out of the realm of possibility (1). However, if you were hoping to have identical twins, we should warn you that your chances are very slim. In this MomJunction article, we discuss 8 factors that increase your odds of conceiving twins.
1. Fertility Treatments
Ceratin fertility drugs work by stimulating the woman’s ovaries which causes them to release more than a single egg. If both the eggs get fertilized by the sperm, it can result in twins.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is another method that can increase the likelihood of having twins. During IVF, healthcare professionals might transfer multiple embryos in the womb to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. If both the embryos develop successfully, it can lead to twins (2).
If you are 30 or older and desperately want to have twins, then you have hit jackpot. Women who are of advanced maternal age are more likely to release more than one egg during ovulation. And if both the eggs get fertilized by the sperm, then you can have twins (3).
3. Family History
You might just be blessed with two babies if twins run in your family. The family history of twins on the maternal side will give you a higher probability of replicating history than on the paternal side. However, this doesn’t apply if your mother or grandmother have conceived twins using fertility treatments (4).
4. Racial Background
Women of African-American descent have a slightly higher chance of giving birth to twins than Caucasian women. However, Hispanic and Asian women are less likely to conceive twins than women of other groups. Interestingly, Caucasian women who are over the age of 35 have the highest chance of conceiving multiple babies, that is, triplets or more (5).
5. Previous Pregnancies
If you have previously given birth, then you might have greater odds of giving birth to twins in your next pregnancy compared to first time expectant mums. Maybe it’s nature’s way of granting your child’s wish of having a younger sibling. The reason why previous pregnancies increase the chances of twins isn’t entirely clear, but it could be because women get a bit older with each pregnancy (6).
According to a 2006 research, taller women have a greater probability of delivering twins than shorter women. The study found women who are an inch taller than the national average to have better chances of giving birth to twins (7).
Women who are on the heavier side are more likely to have twins. More specifically, women whose body mass index (BMI) is above 30 have the highest chance of conceiving twins. And women who fall under the BMI of 18.5 have the lowest chance of having twins. This has to do with the insulin-like growth factor and its influence on giving birth to twins (8).
However never try to intentionally gain weight just so you could increase your chances of conceiving twins. Consult with your doctor about how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Not to forget, being obese may put you in the high-risk category of pregnancy.
According to an older study, your diet can also influence your chances to 5 times more of giving birth to twins. Women who include animal and dairy products in their diet may be consuming more insulin growth factor. The insulin growth factor is released into cow’s milk, and when you consume dairy products, it can influence your reproduction as well (9).
Yams are also found to increase the chances of conceiving twins as the nutrients found in them support the hormones in the female body to release more than one egg during ovulation.
Before you start spending on two cribs and matching outfits, know that these factors only influence your chances of having twins. They do not guarantee that you will indeed end up having twins. There’s no magic formula that you can apply to have twins. However, don’t be disheartened because twins also mean double the diaper duty.