Seeing twins in real life or in picture at any age produces a certain kind of curiosity and fascination in all of us. This is because, we consider twins both rare and precious. The mere fact that 2 human beings are twins, whether identical or fraternal is enough for us to stop in our tracks and take notice in pure delight especially if they are identical. We may know little about the work it takes to bring them to that happy state in which we see them. Furthermore, for those who want to get pregnant with twins as opposed to the usual single offspring, this requires more careful planning and a healthy dose of good luck.
To ensure that the odds lie distinctly in their favour, would-be parents of twins need to ensure that they are both mentally and physically prepared for the care of 2 babies simultaneously. If one baby requires so much in terms of emotional and physical resilience then two babies will hardly be any easier. The round-the-clock care that all children require needs meticulous and adequate preparation especially for twins. This is not meant to discourage but to inform and prepare prospective parents for the road ahead so that they are not caught flat foot. Of course, it all starts with providing the right environment to conceive the twins.
There are many true and untrue theories about the probability of conceiving twins. The best way to proceed as far as getting pregnant with twins is concerned, is to follow the tried and tested road and through it, hope that you finally hold your heart’s desire. Here are some ways which, if all goes as planned, will yield 2 bouncing bundles of duplicate happiness. Read, absorb and discuss this 18-point checklist and remember to always undertake due diligence with your personal gynecologist.
- How old are you? Research in fertility has shown that after the age of 35, the chances of siring twins increase. This is because, as a woman continues to age, there is an upward surge in her estrogen level. As a result, more than one egg each month is released during ovulation (high fertility period). This means that, the chances of getting fraternal, as opposed to identical twins is much higher. An interesting way of looking at this quirk of fate can be nature’s way of ensuring that, with an older woman conceiving twins, she has acquired through her experiences, the natural tenacity for the demanding job ahead.
- Do you have twins in your family tree? Although identical twins can occur in any family, the chances greatly increase when they occur in family trees. This specifically applies to the maternal family tree. It means that, if the mother comes from a family that has twins then she shall be more likely to conceive twins It is still possible to conceive twins despite their absence in the family tree using other methods. Never be discouraged because, Mother Nature can also choose to give out a double surprise from right out of the blue.
- Are you of African descent? There seems to be a prevalent ability to sire twins among people of African heritage. This is more than those of Caucasian or Asian heritage. Some tribes, for example, the Yoruba in West Africa, have a very large number of twins by default. In depth research and analysis still requires to be carried out so as to find out what is present in African genes that predispose them, as opposed to the 2 others, to have the ability to conceive twins much more easily.
- Plan on seeking fertility assistance? Fertility assistance is very useful for those women who have a challenge in conceiving and want to boost their chances significantly. Some of the methods that couples use to enhance their chances of conceiving offspring (including twins) is in vitro fertilization and fertility drugs, among others. In vitro fertilization involves fertilization of several eggs with sperm and implanting them surgically into the womb of the prospective mother. The idea behind this, is to give her many chances of conceiving a baby or two. From this it is easy to deduce that her chances of conceiving more than one fertilized egg are very high and therefore getting twins becomes much more foreseeable.
Taking of fertility drugs involves orally ingesting of prescribed fertility drugs while following a pre-arranged regime of diet and exercise provided by the physician. Fertility drugs enhance the prospective mother’s reproductive system so as to accept and implant a fertilized egg onto her womb. This climate can become so conducive that she ends up conceiving more than one baby thus giving birth to twins.
- Have you been pregnant before? For women who have been pregnant before, the chances of conceiving twins is much higher. This because their body has already experienced the cycle(s) of pregnancy hence is more likely to get pregnant again in future, if the need becomes apparent. However, for women who have never been pregnant before, their chances remain unknown because it becomes difficult to tell if their bodies can actually conceive a child or not. For these, when the time comes and they wish to conceive twins, it would be advisable first to try the natural way over a period of time. If the natural way proves futile, then they can go the artificial way to increase their chances.
- Planning on having a big family? Depending on your budget and willingness, having a big family improves your chances of conceiving twins in the process. Here the simple math law of probability applies, where, the more times you choose to conceive a baby the higher the probability that it shall be twins. The outcome of this can go one way or the other.
- Are you on the pill? The idea behind taking the pill is to prevent pregnancy as a whole. However, many women know other women, or even themselves, who have gotten the surprise of their life by getting pregnant while still on the pill or other oral contraceptives. There are many varied reasons for this happening and it all depends on the woman and her unique physical being. Despite this, studies have shown that it is easier to get pregnant with twins while taking the pill or any other oral contraceptive.
- Have you just stopped taking the pill? Some women are able to conceive immediately after they stop taking the pill. This, of course, depends on each woman and her unique physiology. Getting pregnant with twins during this time can be higher because, a common hypothesis is that, during these first few months’ right after stopping the pill, the body goes through a hormonal readjustment period. While the hormones are going back to their normal level and also depending on her age, her chances of getting twins can be greatly increased.
- Do you have other twins? This is pure common sense. Naturally, a woman who has conceived and given birth to twins before stands a much higher chance of doing it repeatedly. This is because, her body has created the right environment for twins once before and hence is more disposed to facilitate this process again.
- What is your BMI? BMI is an abbreviation for body mass index (BMI). This index is commonly used to gauge the relative health of a person at any age using the ratio of their physical height with their physical weight. Studies have shown that women with a BMI of 30 or over, which is considered heavier, stand a higher chance of conceiving twins. However, the BMI of 30+ is considered unhealthy because it borders on the overweight or obese category. Of course, for a woman with a BMI of 30 or over, taking care of her twins including herself can prove very challenging because of the demanding 24-hour care that twins require especially when they are newborn infants. Doctors recommend a BMI of between 20 – 25 during the fertility years to ensure lasting health for both the mother and her infant(s).
- How tall are you? It is said that taller women tend to conceive twins. This is a hilarious point because there is nothing at all a woman can do about her height except to wear stilettos. We all know that stilettos can do nothing about getting twins. If you are tall however, according to statistics, your chances of getting pregnant with twins will have increased.
- Do you take folic acid supplements? Generally people have different attitudes towards food supplements. If taken in the right way, at the right time and with the right attitude, food supplements are excellent additions to our daily diets which are normally depleted of essential vitamins. Folic acid has been particularly useful for women who want to get pregnant with twins. This is because; folic acid is responsible for the production of red blood cells which are the lifeline for the body’s wellbeing. For pregnant women it plays the crucial role of building the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Manufactured food sources where folic acid can be found are fortified cereals. Folic acid can also be found in its natural form in dark green vegetable including, broccoli, spinach and dried legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils. Those women living in Canada and wanting to get pregnant with twins can get folic acid in all white flour, enriched pasta and cornmeal products.
- Can your partner acquire a taste for oysters? When on the quest to conceive twins both partners need to bring their best at all times. Eating oysters is an acquired taste that can be cultivated because of its manifold benefits, the chief of which is its aphrodisiac qualities. Oysters are also very rich in zinc which is very important for sperm health and mobility. The more robust and agile sperm are, the higher the chances that they shall strike their target once and even twice. The role that the prospective dad plays in the conception of twins is as important as that of his partner and enhancing his chances with increased zinc intake can significantly improve the probability. In non-animal products zinc can be found in green leafy vegetable, cereals, bread, seeds and wheat germ.
- Are you a twin? Prospective mothers who are themselves twins stand a very high chance of getting pregnant with twins themselves. Where the prospective mother is a twin herself, her partner’s role does not influence the chances at all. However, research has also shown that, it is possible for a father to pass the gene for twins onto his daughter. In this case, his daughter’s chances of getting twins if and when she so desires, be more favorable.
- Do you like eating yams? Research has revealed that women, who live in areas where yams form a significant addition into their dietary requirements, tend to conceive twins more often. The only logical conclusion to draw from these findings is that yams contain a naturally occurring chemical that boosts ovary well being in women and increases their chances of getting pregnant with twins.
- Are you breastfeeding? Breastfeeding young children is very good for their health and well being. Continuing to breastfeed a child until 2 years of age creates ideal conditions for conceiving twins. However, this theory does not work for all women. This is because, women respond differently during periods when they are breastfeeding. While for some their menstrual cycle resumes normal activity even during breastfeeding, for others, this does not happen until they stop breastfeeding entirely.
- Are you avoiding alcohol and other harmful substances? It is easy to take our ingrained habits for granted. Social drinking including taking of other recreational substances should be completely avoided when planning for a pregnancy. Both partners should prepare their physical and mental attributes for the nurturing and care of their offspring especially if they are planning on twins.
- Do you believe in myths about twins? It is not advisable to rely on information that has no basis in science. A prospective mother who wants to get pregnant with twins should cultivate the right mental attitude to live by whatever the outcome. Some myths that she should dispel include believing; twins skip a generation, eating a diet rich in dairy products or using alternative therapies like acupuncture, naturopathy and aromatherapy, among many others. Above all, a balanced lifestyle is the best way to live.