How to Get Pregnant with Twins: 6 Tips
Having twins may seem like a handful, but for some women, it’s a dream. It’s like getting two for the price of one!
Twins are born in 1 out of every 250 natural pregnancies, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Having identical twins is unlikely at 0.45% (1 in 250 births).
Since twins aren’t common in natural pregnancies, there is no way to guarantee you’ll have them. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to increase your chances.
In this guide, we will outline the pros and cons of having multiples, what factors make having twins more likely, and what steps you can take to increase your odds.
Benefits of Having Twins
Some couples wish to have twins for a variety of reasons. Here are some pros of conceiving two babies rather than one:
- Your children will have a best friend for life. Since they are the same age, they will go through the same experiences together and will have someone who understands them. They will also be able to enjoy the same activities together.
- In the same way, you’ll never need to rely on playdates to keep your kids entertained. They will have each other to play with all the time.
- Rather than balancing raising two children of different ages, you can raise children going through the same growth process.
- They will be used to sharing even before they go to school or daycare.
- They are less likely to have problems socially since they’ve had experience constantly interacting with their sibling.
- If you only want two children, you’ll only need to go through pregnancy and labor once.
- If you’re getting older and your fertility clock is ticking, having twins is the best way to ensure you have multiple children. You won’t need to worry about your ability to conceive a second time at an older age.
- Friends and family are more likely to help you out by cooking or cleaning when you have two babies on your hands.
Cons of Having Twins
Before you decide to start trying for twins, consider the possible difficulties of having multiples:
- Carrying around and preparing for two babies as opposed to just one can be a lot of work.
- You’ll have less free time. Having one baby is a full-time job, so having two babies will make you even busier.
- If your twins are the same size, there will be no opportunity for hand-me-downs, which will cost more money.
- Giving birth to two babies can be more overwhelming because there are more variables that may affect labor.
- Some parents like having children of varying ages so they can babysit each other. Since twins are the same age, this won’t be a possibility.
- Since you will need to buy two of everything, preparing during pregnancy and parenting will be more expensive. If you have children years apart, you’ll have a chance to save money in between.
Factors that Increase Changes of Having Twins
There are a few factors, mostly uncontrollable, that make having twins naturally more likely.
Height— Although it’s not clear why, women who are about 5’ 5” were more likely to have twins than women who were 5’ 4”, according to one study. Some researchers theorize that better nutrition leads to taller women and higher chances of twins.
Race— African American women are more likely to have twins than Caucasian women. Asian and Hispanic women have lower chances.
Obesity— Research shows that obese women are more likely to have two babies since their extra fat causes estrogen levels to increase. The extra hormones cause the ovaries to release two or more eggs during ovulation instead of just one. This factor is confusing because other studies show that healthier women are more likely to have twins and obese women are more likely to have trouble conceiving in general.
Age— While a woman’s chances of conceiving decline with age, she has the highest chance of having twins in her late 30s. Compared to younger women, women over 30 are more likely to release two or more eggs when they ovulate.
Family History— Having identical twins does not run in the family, but having fraternal twins does. Identical twins come from the same fertilized egg while fraternal twins come from two different eggs. Releasing more than one egg during ovulation is a genetic trait and can therefore be passed on. A man who has the twin gene is not more likely to have twins himself because his genes do not affect how many eggs his partner releases during ovulation. Contrary to popular belief, twins don’t skip a generation.
How to Get Pregnant with Twins
If you think the pros of having twins outweigh the cons, you may be wondering how to get pregnant with twins. While there is no way to guarantee that you will conceive twins, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances.
Being healthy— Compared to other mothers, those that give birth to two babies live longer, according to a 2011 study. This does not mean that having twins is healthy for women, but that healthier women are more likely to conceive twins. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular exercise is not only a good idea if you want twins—but it also increases your odds of conceiving in general.
Folic Acid— Some small studies suggest that folic acid may increase a woman’s chances of conceiving twins. Even though there aren’t any large studies to back up this claim, taking the supplement is still a good idea. Folic acid decreases the risk of neural tube defects, so doctors recommend taking it before conceiving and during pregnancy. If you’re looking to get folic acid that naturally occurs in foods, you can eat spinach, lettuce, egg yolk, broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries.
Previous Pregnancies— A woman is more likely to give birth to twins if she has given birth before and has a large family. If you’ve had twins in the past, you’re also more likely to have twins again. That means that if you don’t have twins this time around, you may be more likely to next time.
Breastfeeding— A 2006 study found that women who were breastfeeding during conception were more likely to have twins. Although there are no more studies that confirm this, if you’re breastfeeding and want twins in the future, now may be a good time to try to conceive.
Eating Wild Yams (Cassava)— A tribe in Africa called the Yoruba has a higher rate of twin births—about 4 times the average rate. Their town has been dubbed the “land of twins.” It was discovered that the tribe ate a certain type of wild yam, called cassava, daily. Although there are no studies to confirm this, some people suggest that the vegetable contains higher levels of chemicals that boost the number of eggs a woman releases when she ovulates.
You can buy cassava in many grocery stores; however, some companies have developed supplements that are supposed to have the same effect. The company Forever Blessed claims that their cassava supplement releases natural hormones called GnRH that trick the brain into thinking there isn’t enough estrogen. As a result, the brain releases more of a hormone called gonadotropin, which increases the ovulation rate. The company claims that their supplement increases the chances of having twins as much as 50%, although there are no clinical trials.
Fertility Treatments— Some fertility treatments can increase your chances of having twins, triplets and more. These drugs include:
- IVF treatment
- IUI treatment
Couples that have fertility treatments have a 1 in 3 chance of having multiples, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Gonadotropins gives women the highest chance of having multiples (up to 30%). The chances of having twins are the lowest from Clomid and Femara, which can range from 5 to 12%.
Having twins is also a common occurrence among women who have went through IVF treatments. The chances are higher if the woman is younger than 35 (about 12%). That chance drops to about 9% if a woman is 35 to 37.
Although the chances of having identical twins are low, it also increases with the use of fertility treatments. The likelihood jumps from 0.45% to 0.95%.
Having twins is not a guarantee even if you use fertility drugs. However, if you’re having trouble conceiving and want multiples, it may be worth trying out.
Are you and your partner looking to conceive twins? If you are, comment below what steps you’ve taken to increase your chances. If you have friends or family members looking to conceive, be sure to share this article with them, too!
P.S. Whether you have twins or a single baby, listening to his or her heartbeat while in the womb is one of the most amazing experiences. Our handheld fetal dopplers allow you to hear your baby—just as you do during an ultrasound!