How does a twin pregnancy happen?
You shouldn’t leave having twins to chance — having twice the newborn cuteness isn't out of your hands. There are certain things you can do to increase your chances of having a twin pregnancy.
You can be pregnant with either identical (or monozygous) twins or fraternal twins.
Conceiving identical twins starts with a single sperm fertilizing an egg. This fertilized egg then divides into two, which results in identical twins. The babies born are of the same sex, and they share the same DNA. But the chances of conceiving identical twins are very slim.
Fraternal twins are not identical. They're conceived when two separate eggs — released by the ovaries — are fertilized by two sperm cells. Unlike identical twins, fraternal twins don't have the same DNA. They don't look alike and can be of different sexes. Fraternal twins occur more than identical twins, but they don't occur at will. The ovaries rarely release more than one egg.
Natural ways to increase your chances of having a twin pregnancy
Here are some steps you can take to increase your likelihood of having your ovaries release more than one egg at a time.
Getting pregnant in your 30s or later
You are more likely to conceive twins when you are over 30. This likelihood spans from increased production of the follicle-stimulating hormone — or FSH. This hormone is responsible for egg development in the ovaries.
Higher levels of FSH are required as people get older because more stimulation is required for egg growth. The increased FSH levels resulting from lower fertility sometimes causes the follicles to overreact. This causes the release of multiple eggs that bring about multiple births.
Finding a partner with a family history of twins
It is more likely that children of male identical twins reproduce identical twins. Having fraternal twins in your family increases your chances of having twins too. When there are fraternal twins on both the father and mother's side, the chances of having twins might increase further.
Increasing your weight
People who are obese — with a body mass index of over 30 — have increased chances of twin pregnancies. The levels of estrogen — a female sex hormone — increase with extra body fat. The weight increase leads to excessive stimulation of the ovaries. The ovaries might release multiple eggs instead of one. But there are other factors that can make conceiving difficult for people with obesity.
Conception during breastfeeding can increase the chances of twin pregnancies. Breastfeeding can reduce fertility during the first six months of delivery, where a mother breastfeeds her baby exclusively. However, it is possible to become pregnant with twins while breastfeeding. A study found that the rate of twin pregnancies in women not breastfeeding was 1.1 percent — which was much lower than that in breastfeeding women (11.4 percent).
Consuming dairy products
Consuming a lot of dairy products increases the chances of a twin pregnancy because the growth hormones released by cows into their milk cause changes to your hormonal levels.
Getting pregnant repeatedly
It isn't clear why but having one or several previous pregnancies increases your chances of having twins. It's speculated that this probably happens because by the time you have your second or later pregnancy, you become older — possibly over 30.
Using fertility treatment
You can artificially increase your chances of having a twin pregnancy with assisted reproductive technologies like intrauterine insemination — or IUI — and in vitro fertilization — or IVF.
The IUI procedure itself doesn't increase your twin pregnancy chances but the medications taken along with the procedure. Clomiphene (Clomid) and letrozole (Femara) are fertility medications that stimulate ovulation. These medications are given during IUI cycles. They may cause your body to produce multiple eggs — leading to multiple eggs being fertilized, resulting in twin pregnancies.
Gonadotropins (Chorex) — which stimulate egg follicle growth and are usually injected during IUI and some other fertility treatments — also increase the chances of multiple births.
Mothers receive medications during the IVF procedure. In this procedure, the main thing responsible for increasing the chances of twin pregnancies is the number of embryos you choose to transfer. You might decide to transfer one embryo, hope it splits into two, and lead to pregnancy with twins.
If you transfer multiple embryos, there's an increased possibility of fraternal twins occurring. The two or more embryos could successfully attach and develop into a set of twins or more.
Though there isn’t any special drug that guarantees twin pregnancy, you can increase your chances of becoming pregnant with twins. Following any of these suggestions will increase your chances of a twin pregnancy, but remember that twin pregnancy has its risks and rewards. It's not all fun and cuteness.
Twin pregnancy is more susceptible to perinatal morbidity and mortality. Also, there can be maternal complications like preterm labor. That doesn’t mean you can't have a healthy twin pregnancy. You would only need more care and attention.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Gleicher, N. Principles of Medical Therapy in Pregnancy, Springer US, 1985.
International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology: "Twin pregnancy a complicated journey for both mothers and babies: elaborate review."
The Journal of Reproductive Medicine: "Mechanisms of twinning. IV. Sex preference and lactation," "Mechanisms of twinning: VII. Effect of diet and heredity on the human twinning rate."
New England Journal of Medicine: "Letrozole Versus Clomiphene for Infertility in the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome."
Obstetrics & Gynecology: "Delayed Childbearing as a Growing, Previously Unrecognized Contributor to the National Plural Birth Excess."
ReproductiveFacts: "Side Effects of Injectable Fertility Drugs (Gonadotropins)."
Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia: "Twin pregnancies: risks and complications: review article."
Trakia Journal of Sciences: "MULTIPLE PREGNANCY AND BIRTH: TWINS, TRIPLETS AND HIGH-ORDER MULTIPLES. OVERVIEW."
Top How Increase Chances Getting Pregnant with Twins Related Articles
Can I Get Pregnant Even If He Pulls Out?If you use the pull out method perfectly each time, it has about a 96% success rate. However, it is challenging to do it exactly right every time. So, in reality, it has about a 78% success rate.
Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?A common myth is that a woman can’t get pregnant while on her period. This is mostly true, but there is a catch here! Very rarely, a woman can get pregnant if she has unprotected sex on the first day of the period. This may happen if she has a 20-day period cycle.
How Many Days After Your Period Can You Get Pregnant?Getting pregnant just after your period is unlikely, but it’s not impossible. However, the chances of getting pregnant are low right after the periods compared to a few days or a week in the menstrual cycle.
Can You Get Pregnant with MTHFR Gene Mutation?While women can get pregnant with an MTHFR gene mutation, they may have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy, including preeclampsia, congenital birth defects, and polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD).
Can You Get Pregnant Without Ovulating?You can't get pregnant if you are not ovulating because there is no egg for the sperm to fertilize. You can get pregnant if you have unprotected sex anywhere from 5 days before ovulation until 1 day after ovulation. A woman’s complete menstrual cycle is usually 24 to 37 days long, although some women may have somewhat shorter or longer cycles. Ovulation is your fertile phase of each month. During this phase, your ovaries (a woman’s reproductive organs) release an egg (ovum).
Conjoined TwinsConjoined twins are identical twins. In both types of twins, the embryo is supposed to separate during the first two weeks after conception; however, in conjoined twins the embryo does not separate in two. The types of conjoined twins are based on the location of the fusion, and include thoracopagus or xiphopagus, omphalopagus, craniopagus, parapagus, pygopagus, ischiopagus, and rachipagus or rachiopagus. The possibility of surgery for separation, prognosis, and life expectancy of conjoined twins depend on the type.
Do You Go into Labor Sooner with Twins? What to ExpectIf you're pregnant with twins, chances are that you can expect to go into labor a little bit sooner than you would if you were carrying just one baby.
How Do Surrogate Mothers Get Pregnant?There are two ways a surrogate mother gets pregnant. In the first form, the surrogate mother’s egg cell is used to conceive the child. The sperm is donated by the male of the couple who opts for surrogacy.
How Do You Find Out if You Are Able to Get Pregnant?Unfortunately, not every woman is able to get pregnant. There are many ways you can find out if you can become pregnant. Factors to consider include your age, menstrual history, weight, health history, and your use of alcohol and tobacco.
How Do You Raise Twins Alone?Even as an experienced parent, you may not know what to expect when you bring home newborn twins. Although the journey is challenging, you will learn tactics to help you overcome any difficulties you face.
How Likely Is It To Get Pregnant with an IUD?Getting pregnant while you have an IUD is extremely rare. There is one out of a hundred chances that this could happen. However, it has happened before.
What Is the Oldest Age a Woman Can Get Pregnant Naturally?Fertility declines with age. Most women are not able to get pregnant between 5 and 10 years before menopause. Find out more about the many tests you can take to learn about your own fertility. Learn about what they are and how they are tested.
Pregnancy: Multiple Births, Twins, Triplets, and MoreMultiple births occur when a woman bears twins, triplets, or even more babies during pregnancy. More multiples are born today thanks to assisted reproductive technology (ART), including in vitro fertilization using fertility drugs. Women carrying multiples often give birth via C-section.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
What Happens If You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?Breastfeeding inhibits ovulation to some extent. However, it is still possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding.