Many couples trying to conceive hope to have twins. Their reasons vary, from ensuring that their child has a close sibling through childhood to simply wanting a large family. While multiple births occur in about 3 percent of all pregnancies in the United States each year, experts say there are some steps women can take to increase their chances of having twins. Diet, ethnicity, genetics and lifestyle all play a role in whether a woman is more apt to have twins. Scroll down if you want to learn about ways to raise your chances of having twins.
Knowing Your Current Chances
Understand that the average person’s chance of having twins is about 3%. Not so high. But you are probably not average. If you have any of the below, your chance increases. If you have a lot or all of the below, your chance increases a lot. Conversely, if you are a young, underweight female of Asian descent with no twins in the family, the chance of twinning will be extremely low.
- Having twins “in the family,” particularly on the mother’s side. If you already have twins, your chance increases at least 4x.
- Being of African descent makes the highest chance of having twins, followed by European descent. Hispanic and Asian people have the lowest chance of having twins.
- Being tall and/or well nourished or even overweight.
- Having prior pregnancies. Women with 4 or more pregnancies increase their chances of twins dramatically. It seems that the body is more likely to have twins after it knows you “can take it.” Many of the families that have a dozen children or more, show increasing numbers of twin births as they have more pregnancies.
Know that older women are less likely to GET pregnant, but if they do, they are more likely to have twins. The older you are, the more likely you are to have twins. If you are around 40, your chance is substantially higher, around 7%. At 45, if you can get pregnant, the odds are about 17%.
Older women are most likely to get IVF, see below. IVF also increases your chance of twinning.
Easy Things to Increase Your Chances
Take your vitamins. People low on nutrition are less likely to have twins.
All vitamins are good, but folic acid supplements are proven to increase your chances.You can get them at any pharmacy. Folic acid is now recommended for all pregnant women as well; it prevents birth defects. However, you don’t want to take more than 1000mg a day.
Be well nourished, and eat certain foods. Overall, underweight people are less likely to have twins.
Overall, being better nourished or overweight may increase your chances of twinning.
Better nourished means to put on weight in a healthy manner. Consult your doctor about any plans for weight gain.
Consume dairy and yams. There are foods that are possibly linked to better chances of twins.
A study conducted by a leading fertility specialist found that women who consume dairy products during the timeframe they’re trying to conceive increase their chances of having twins by as much as 5 times over women who avoid such foods.
Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF), which is produced in the livers of cows, is believed to be the chemical instigator in this phenomenon.
Others suggest drinking milk of cows treated by rBGH hormones can influence human women to have twins more frequently.
An African tribe whose diet is rich in wild yams (cassava) boasts a twin birth rate 4 times higher than the global average. Nutrients in the vegetable are believed to stimulate the ovaries into producing more than 1 egg during ovulation.
Many doctors are skeptical that the yams have anything to do with twins. On the other hand, there is no harm to eating yams, and they are delicious.
Stop birth-control pills right before. Try stopping the pill right before trying to get pregnant. When women first stop taking the pill, their bodies work furiously to re-regulate their hormones. During the first month or two after getting off the pill, ramped up ovaries sometimes release 2 eggs.
This is not proven either, but again can’t hurt. Some studies suggest it is true.
How to Give Birth to Twins with a Doctor’s Help
Let a doctor help you increase your chances of twins. Some doctors will help anyone have twins, like the doctor of the Octomom. Others will only help if there is a “medical necessity.”
There are several medical reasons for a doctor to help you have twins.
If you are older, the doctor may suggest having twins is lower chance of birth defects than having two single pregnancies.
There are other reasons why a woman may medically not be able to have more than one pregnancy, known as Secondary Infertility. Age and fertility windows are other reasons for needing to have twins.
If you are undergoing IVF, you could be spending some serious money. Implanting multiple eggs is cost effective since each IVF egg has a lower chance of implanting, so best to try a bunch at once.
Talk to your doctor about an oral medicine called Clomid. It is normally used as a treatment for women who do not ovulate, but when taken by women with no issues it can raise the chance of having twins to over 33%, depending on the woman.
Clomid works by encouraging the ovaries to drop more eggs in a cycle. Clomid can result in triplets or more, so be warned!
Go through IVF (Intro Vitro Fertilization.) IVF used to be called “test tube babies.”
IVF procedures result in twins at a high rate. Normally the doctors will try to implant many embryos in the hopes that one sticks, but if one sticks, two is also likely. Overall, the chances of having twins in IVF are between 20% to 40%.
IVF can be expensive. There are many clinics that do IVF, so get referrals and shop around.
IVF is now fairly routine. It’s not cheap or quick, but it is not unusual these days either.