When you decide to start a family, you may think, Wouldn’t it be easier just to have twins so we can be done? And, hey, that’s an understandable line of thought — especially if you’ve heard stories about how tough pregnancy symptoms can be from other mothers. Before boarding the twin train, it’s important to remember that having two babies is not easy. Of course, each pregnancy (singular or not) comes with its own risks and concerns. But mamas of multiples have a unique experience. No, having twins doesn’t come with double the risk. However, it does come with an increased chance of hypertension, which can lead to premature labor. They are also more prone to preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hyperemesis gravidarum. That’s certainly not to say you shouldn’t want twins — you’re more likely to have a healthy pregnancy if you know what to look out for, regardless of how many buns are in the oven.
So, is guaranteeing a twin pregnancy even possible? You want to know how to have twins, and we’re here to offer some insight into the double babies front. And when you’re finished reading this primer on getting pregnant with twins, you should take a peek at our pages on types of twins, fraternal twins facts, mirror image twins, and semi-identical twins.
Can you do anything to sway a twin pregnancy?
So, here’s the straight talk: There’s no way to 100 percent guarantee that you’ll conceive twins. There are too many variables that go into how to conceive — and conceiving different types of twins — to be able to manipulate the outcome definitively. But there are many potential contributing factors to a twin pregnancy, which we’ll discuss below.
What week can twins be detected?
If you really are eating for three, you can confirm this during your ultrasound at 12 weeks. Despite what movies want us to believe, it’s pretty rare to go an entire pregnancy without doctors realizing you’re carrying twins. The first trimester is usually when your doctor can determine the number of children you’re having.
What factors cause a twin pregnancy?
You’re clearly curious about the factors that contribute to a twin pregnancy, so let’s get to ‘em.
You’ve probably heard that twins are hereditary, right? Well, that’s true…ish. In actuality, having a family history of multiples doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be more likely to have twins. Having said that, your chances of conceiving twins do go up if you have fraternal twins (dizygotic, or non-identical).
You may have heard that your chances of getting pregnant go down as you age. However, if you do get pregnant when you’re over 30, you are more likely to conceive twins than if you were to get pregnant before 30. Why? As women get older, the hormone FSH — or follicle-stimulating hormone — rises. It just so happens that FSH is responsible for the development of eggs in the ovaries before being released. So, these rising levels of FSH can lead to hyperovulation, or the tendency to release multiple eggs during ovulation.
You probably didn’t see this one coming, did you? But we’re not joking around — women who are 5’4.8” or taller are more likely to conceive twins than the average-height woman (roughly 5’3.7”). The reason why remains unclear.
Although women who are clinically obese — which is defined as anyone with a BMI over 30 — are more likely to suffer from infertility, they ironically have higher odds of conceiving twins. The explanation is relatively straightforward: Extra fat stores lead to elevated levels of estrogen. Elevated levels of estrogen can overstimulate the ovaries, leading to the release of two or more eggs.
Twins are more common in women of African descent than in Caucasian women. Asian women have the lowest odds of conceiving twins.
Wondering what “high parity” means? Basically, if you’ve had previous pregnancies, it’s known as high parity. Although it isn’t understood entirely why, high parity can increase your chances of conceiving twins. And if your high parity includes a prior multiples pregnancy, that also ups your odds.
You may be thinking, Whoa, whoa, whoa… pump the brakes! Because let’s be real, not all of us felt particularly inclined to have sex after childbirth or during the period of time when we were a veritable milk factory. But there are plenty of women who do get frisky while still breastfeeding — and, as it turns out, those women may be more likely to conceive twins if they get pregnant while breastfeeding.
If you’re determined to conceive twins naturally, you may want to make a few tweaks to your grocery shopping list. Studies suggest that foods such as yams, tapioca, and maca root may increase the likelihood of a twin pregnancy. Dairy products have also been linked to the conception of twins.
How can I increase my chances of a twin pregnancy?
OK, let’s talk odds! The rate of twin births has increased some 78 percent since 1980, now accounting for around 3.5 percent of all live births in the U.S. That works out to around 1 in every 250 pregnancies, and that rate is even higher in women who have fertility treatments. The chance of multiple gestation in women undergoing reproductive therapy can be as high as 1 out of 3 women.
So, which fertility treatments have the highest odds of conceiving twins? The rate of twin pregnancies is 30 percent with gonadotropins (Gonal-F, FSH, LH), 12.1 percent with IVF in women under the age of 35, between 5- and 12- percent with Clomid and Femera, 9.1 percent with IVF in women between 35 and 37, and 5.3 percent with IVF in women between 38 and 40.
- getting to a healthy weight
- improving diet/exercise habits
- eliminating alcohol
- quitting smoking, if you smoke
- cutting back on caffeine
Which foods increase your odds of getting pregnant with twins?
Want to know what to eat to up your odds of getting preggo with twins? No guarantees, but the following foods could cause an uptick in fertility.
- High-fat dairy
- Natural supplements
- Sunflower seeds
- Fruits filled with citrus-like grapefruits
- Cheddar, parmesan, and other mature cheeses
- Cooked tomatoes
- Beans and lentils
- Egg Yolks
Are there quotes about twins?
Of course, there are! Twins are one of the many magical wonders of the world, so if you’re looking for some wise words about twinning, read below.
“It’s double the giggles and double the grins, and double the trouble if you’re blessed with twins.” — Unknown Author
“The special relationship between twins is that, if there’s anyone else in the world that’s going to get or be the confidant that you need, it’s an identical twin.” — Sam Underwood
“You can spend too much time wondering which of identical twins is the more alike.” — Robert Brault