10 Factors Correlated with Twin Pregnancy
According to past research, several unique factors will determine your chances of conceiving twins. This article focuses on 10 recurring themes that are cited in recent studies about fertility. References and additional details about how to have twins are provided at the bottom of the page.
1. Family History and Genetics
If someone in your family history has had fraternal twins, then this could potentially increase the odds of you giving birth to twins. What’s more, if your father has a fraternal twin and your mother has a fraternal twin, then the chances of you having a multiple pregnancy will rise significantly (Lazarov, 2016).
Note, these factors do not apply to people with a family history of identical twins. It is only for fraternal twins.
2. Ethnic Background
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center (2019), African-American women have the greatest chance of having twins. Then, Caucasian women rank a close second, while Asian women have the lowest chance of conceiving twins.
Studies indicate that women over 30 years of age are more likely to conceive twins (Adashi and Gutman, 2018). Since the FSH hormone in women rises with age, the follicles react to the increased FSH levels. As a result, this can increase the chance of more eggs in the ovaries being released.
4. Body Weight and Height
Women who are overweight, who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, are more likely to have twins (Hitti, 2005). The excess fat in the body tends to increase estrogen levels. Subsequently, higher estrogen levels stimulate the ovaries and raise the possibility of more eggs being released.
Furthermore, on average historically, taller women tend to have more twins than shorter women (Lazarov, 2016). However, the reasons for this trend have not been proven or studied in-depth yet.
5. Past Pregnancies
Lazarov (2016) also found that twins are more common with parents who have many children. That is to say, if you have given birth before, then there is an increased likelihood that you may have twins in your next pregnancy.
It is evident that breastfeeding will reduce the odds of getting pregnant again while nursing a newborn. Nevertheless, if a woman happens to conceive while breastfeeding, then it may increase the odds of having twins (Steinman, 2001).
Food and diet may also play a role in multiple pregnancies. For instance, consuming dairy could increase your chances of having twins. Research by Shur (2009) suggests that dairy influences women’s hormone levels which positively affects fertility.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Yams and sweet potatoes contain nutrients that promote healthy ovaries and fertility. In fact, cultures that consume more sweet potatoes regularly have higher twin birth rates. For example, one study by Akinboro, Azeez, and Bakare (2008) showed that Nigeria has the highest twinning rate in the world and the Nigerian diet is notably higher in yam consumption.
Oysters are very high in zinc which has been shown to increase sperm production (Colagar, Marzony, and Chaichi: 2009). Potentially, stronger sperm improves the odds of fertilizing more than one egg. Therefore, if you are planning to conceive, get your male partner to eat more oysters and foods rich in zinc.
Other foods that contain high levels of zinc are beef, chicken, pork, tofu, hemp seeds, oatmeal, and yogurt.
10. Folic Acid Supplements
Folic acid plays a key role in preventing birth defects that could occur in a baby’s brain or spinal cord. As of 2018, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women take 400 mcg of folic acid per day. Considering these benefits, taking a folic acid supplement may also help your chances of having healthy twins too.
What’s more, you can increase your folic acid intake by consuming nutritious foods that contain B-vitamins, such as dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, and beans.
To conclude, the main factors for determining your chances of giving birth to twins will depend on your family history and genetics. However, if you are over 30 years old and have larger body dimensions, then it could increase your odds. Furthermore, having many children and breastfeeding while conceiving are moderately correlated to multiple pregnancies.
Finally, altering your diet could help too. Consider eating more dairy, yams, oysters, and other zinc-rich food. Folic acid and B-vitamin foods are also recommended for pregnant mothers.
Extra Tips on How to Have Twins
Visit Health Benefits 101 for more nutritional advice on how to optimize your health and fertility.
Plus, watch the video below by Mai Zimmy to learn about other factors that could influence fertility and twin birth rates.
Please participate in the twin pregnancy poll and leave a comment.
VIDEO: How to Get Pregnant with Twins
POLL: Dieting for Twins
Adashi, E.Y., and Gutman, R. (2018). Delayed childbearing as a growing, previously unrecognized contributor to the national plural birth excess. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 132(4), 999-1006.
Akinboro, A., Azeez, M. A., and Bakare, A. A. (2008). Frequency of twinning in southwest Nigeria. Indian Journal of Human Genetics, 14(2), 41-47.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Folic Acid. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html.
Colagar, A. H., Marzony, E.T., Chaichi, M.J. (2009). Zinc levels in seminal plasma are associated with sperm quality in fertile and infertile men. Nutrition Research, 29(2), 82-88.
Gleicher, N. (2012). Principles of Medical Therapy in Pregnancy. Springer Science & Business Media.
Gurevich, R. (2019). What Are My Chances of Having Twins? [online] Very Well Family. Available at: https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-are-my-chances-of-having-twins-1960180.
Hitti M. (2005). Moms' Obesity Makes Twins More Likely. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20050303/moms-obesity-makes-twins-more-likely#1.
Lazarov, S., Lazarov, L., Lazarov, N. (2016). Multiple pregnancy and birth: Twins, triplets and high-order multiples. Overview. Trakia Journal of Sciences. 1(1), 103-107.
Shur, N. (2009). The genetics of twinning: from splitting eggs to breaking paradigms. InAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics. 151(2), 105-109.
Steinman, G. (2001). Mechanisms of twinning. IV. Sex preference and lactation. The Journal of reproductive medicine, 46(11), 1003-7.
University of Rochester Medical Center (2020). Overview of Multiple Pregnancy. [online] Available at: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=P08019.
Whitbread, D. (2019). Top 10 Foods Highest in Zinc. [online] My Food Data. Available at: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-zinc-foods.php.