Conceiving twins is many couples’ dream but naturally conceived twins occur in about 1 out of every 89 births, only 3%.
Yet, doctors say there are certain things you can do to improve these odds and have a better chance of getting pregnant with twins.
How to conceive twins – Secret revealed
- Being older rather than younger helps. It seems to be a twist of nature that just before a woman enters perimenopause, her ovaries start releasing more than one egg each month. This “fertility spike” is also influenced by a surge of estrogen. Fertility research has proven that twin pregnancies are much more common in women who are over 35 years. But this only applies to non-identical twins.
- Have fertility assistance such as in vitro fertilization or take fertility drugs. These stimulate the ovaries to support more than one ovarian follicle each month towards maturity. The result is that more than one egg is released.
- Pick your own genetics carefully! Though we all know this is impossible. But if you come from a family where non-identical twins are common then your family history and genetic endowment mean that you’ve got a greater chance of having them yourself. But identical twins can occur in any family.
- Be of African/American heritage. Women from this ethnic background have a distinctly higher rate of twin pregnancies.
- Having been pregnant before. Women who have previously had a baby or two have a higher chance of conceiving with twins.
- Have a big family. This theory is based on pure maths; the more times you conceive the greater the likelihood of conceiving more than one baby.
- Get pregnant while you are on the pill. Difficult as this can be overall, there is a higher incidence of women conceiving with twins when they are on oral contraceptives.
- Try to conceive straight after you have stopped taking the pill. The theory is that for the first couple of cycles the woman’s body is going through a hormonal readjustment phase.
- Already have a set of twins. Because the likelihood of conceiving with twins again is higher in women who’ve already had them.
- Be heavier rather than lighter so that you’ve got a higher body mass index (BMI). Some researchers claim that a woman with aBMI of greater than 30 boosts her chances. But considering a healthy range during the fertile years is 20-25 and 30 would put you into the overweight/obese category then this is not a healthy recommendation.
- Taller women tend to conceive more twins. But there is nothing you can do about your height, other than blame your parents!
- Take a folic acid supplement before you conceive. The general recommendation for women who are planning to conceive is to start taking folic acid supplements one month before conception.
- Encourage your partner to eat some oysters. The urban myth about oysters being an aphrodisiac is not entirely without basis. Oysters are high in zinc and this helps with sperm production. The more healthy and mobile his sperm are, the greater the likelihood of being able to fertilise an egg or two. If he’s keen to take supplements, the recommendation for men in their fertile years is 14mg/day. Green leafy vegetables, cereals, bread, seeds and wheat germ are all excellent sources of zinc.
- Be a twin yourself. Mothers who are twins are more likely to have twin babies. There is no influence on the male partner’s side, only the mother’s. But it does seem that fathers may pass the twin gene onto their daughters for their future conception possibilities.
- Eat more yams/sweet potatoes. It is a fact that more women conceive with twins who live in areas where yams are a major component of their diet. It seems that a naturally occurring chemical component of the yams helps to support ovarian function.
- Keep breastfeeding your older baby or toddler. Women who are producing prolactin and breastfeeding are more likely to conceive with twins. Though some women do not resume regular ovulation and menstrual cycles for the entire time they are breastfeeding; this is very individual.
What’s fact and what’s fiction when having twins?
- The idea that conceiving twins skips a generation is not true. Although there can appear to be a pattern in some families of this happening, the odds of having identical twins is the same for every woman.
- Eating a diet which is high in dairy foods, milk and meat are said to help, especially at the time of ovulation. But there is no scientific evidence to support this.
- Alternative therapies do not increase the likelihood. There is no scientific evidence to support the theory that acupuncture, naturopathy, aromatherapy, chiropractic or flower essences increase the likelihood of having twins.