What increases the likelihood of having a twin pregnancy?

To understand if you have the possibility of becoming a second or third mother in one fell swoop you should consider:

  • Your family history
  • Your lifestyle
  • Number of children you already have
  • Your age
  • Where do you come from
  • Fertility treatments, if any

Factors that increase the likelihood of a twin pregnancy

Identical twins, which account for about a third of twin pregnancies, originate from a single egg cell fertilized by a single sperm cell.

Nature decides and we cannot influence this in any way.

However, in the case of non-identical twins  (heterozygous), which come from different egg cells, there are some factors that can increase the incidence.

Your family history

It matters your family history and not that of your partner even if there are twins in his family.

The presence of twins in the father’s family tree makes no difference.

Everything is in the hands of the woman because she is the one who produces the egg cells.

Therefore, if in your family your mother, or your sister, or your maternal grandmother … have had twin children, then you too will have the possibility of having them.

Your lifestyle

Women who eat a low-fat diet, especially vegan and vegetarian diets, are less likely to have twins than those who eat a varied diet that includes meat, fish and dairy products.

The reason lies in the small hormonal changes that exist among people on different diets. Those who eat a high-fat diet also likely have a higher body mass index (BMI). Body Mass Index is a measure of how healthy your weight is in relation to your height.

Number of children you have

Statistics tell us that the more babies you have, the more likely you are to have a twin pregnancy.

This can also be seen in another way in the sense that the more pregnancies a woman has had, the more likely she is to ovulate well (and possibly even multiplely), which increases the likelihood of a twin pregnancy.

Maternal age

Twins that are conceived naturally are more common in women who are in their 30s and 40s.

This depends on how the ovaries work and how their function changes with age.

Where do you come from

In Western Europe the frequency of twin pregnancies is one in 60 pregnancies.

Twin pregnancies are much rarer in South East Asia while in Nigeria twin pregnancies are 1 in 20-30 pregnancies (perhaps due to diet or climate?)

Fertility treatments

One of the factors that most increases the likelihood of having more than one child is undergoing fertility treatment.

In these cases, drugs are given to stimulate ovulation and the production of egg cells and hence the rates of twin pregnancies increase.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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