How to Conceive Twins

Twins may be identical or maternal twins that are the results of early division of one zygote (product of 1 sperm and 1 egg) and non-identical or fraternal twins that indicate fertilization of two sperms with two separate eggs. Twins or multiple gestations carries a higher risk of complications during pregnancy and at the time of childbirth, yet a lot of women prefer multiple gestation or twins for a number of reasons. Thought the chances of conceiving twin are usually genetically decided, there still many things that you can do to increase your odds of conceiving lovely twins.


Which Factors Decide Your Chances of Conceiving Twins?

Research and statistical data suggest that the chances of getting pregnant with twins are only 1 in 89 pregnancies. However, following factors can significantly influence your chances of getting pregnant with twins:

1. Genetics

Genetics play the most important role in twin pregnancy or multiple gestations. If you have a family history of twin pregnancies in your maternal side of the family, chances are higher that you are also carrying hyper-ovulating genes. Unfortunately, paternal history is usually not very significant in such cases

2. Ethnicity and Race

Racial factors also play a significant role. The ratio of twin pregnancies is higher in African women when compared to Caucasian and other races. Similarly, the chances of getting pregnant with twin pregnancy are minimal in Asian women.

3. Age

The chances of hyper-ovulatory cycles increase with advancing age suggesting a clear chance of twin pregnancy. Women are 17% more likely to become pregnant with twins in their 40s.

How to Conceive Twins?

In most cases, twin gestations are the result of a mere chance; however clinical data suggest that following interventions may play a significant role.

1. Try Putting on Some Weight

Weight gain is associated with changes in the secretion, post-translational modification and serum level of reproductive hormones. Although weight gain increases your chances of developing complications, it also increases your chances of a twin pregnancy. Seek the help of dietitian to gain healthy weight

2. Eat Hyperovulation-stimulating Foods

There are a number of foods that increases the rate of ovulation by increasing the secretion of certain hormones that stimulate ovaries to release and grow multiple ova. These include:

  • Wild yams. Wild yams especially cassava are known to hyper-stimulate ovaries to release multiple eggs; thereby increasing the chances of twin pregnancy. Igbo-Ora is a town in Africa that has the highest incidence of twin pregnancies that is attributed to their staple diet, consisting primarily of wild yams.
  • Dairy products. Dairy products increase the chances of hyper-ovulation and statistical data suggest that women who consume more milk based diets are 5 times more likely to develop multiple gestations.
  • Other foods that also increase your chances of multiple conceptions are high cholesterol foods (that are generally not advised by healthcare providers for a long period of time) and high quality proteins like tofu, soy isoflavones, whole wheat and whole grains.

3. Try Getting Pregnant in Your 30s or 40s

The risk of ovulation issues and aberrations increases as a woman age. The chances of multiple gestations are higher in women over 35 to 40 years as suggested by clinical and research data. Healthcare providers suggest that the fertility rate decreases as a woman age, marked by anovulatory cycles. In an attempt to restore the cycle rhythm, pituitary gland increases the secretion of FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone) that stimulates the ovary to release more eggs.

4. Increase Intake of Folic Acid

Folic acid is frequently advised to women of reproductive age group to decrease the risk of developing anemia during pregnancy and to minimize the chances of neural tube defects in the baby. However, it has also been observed that folic acid increases the chances of twin pregnancy. Oral intake and supplemental forms are equally effective. Australian study indicates that folic acid increase the chances of twin pregnancy by 40%.

Some of the folate containing diets includes lentils (half cup supply more than 180 mcg of folate that is approximately 50% of the recommended daily allowance of folate). Other healthy options are green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale (that are also rich in other pregnancy nutrients like Iron, fiber and magnesium), asparagus, oranges and other citrus fruits, kidney beans and broccoli.

5. Seek Fertility Assistance

Fertility aid in the form of exogenous hormonal supplements or medications like Clomiphene citrate increases the chances of ovulation many folds. Certain artificial methods of conception like in-vitro fertilization and Intracytoplasmic insemination enable healthcare providers to artificially implant more than one embryo in the uterine cavity. Although, chances are not always 100% that both embryos will survive, but it is still a reliable method with high success rate if caution is maintained.

6. Try Conceiving after You Stop Taking Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills alter the normal rhythm of serum reproductive hormones and soon after stopping oral contraceptives, ovarian cycles are usually not regular. A higher rate of twin pregnancies is reported in women who try to conceive soon after stopping birth control pills (attributed to hyper-stimulation of ovaries to release two or more eggs that may result in twin pregnancy following fertilization by sperms).

7. Continue Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is considered as a natural method of contraception due to high prolactin levels; however, after 6 months of delivery, cycles gradually returns to normal. Healthcare providers suggest that women who continue to breastfeed their babies have a higher chance of getting pregnant with twins because of release of multiple eggs at the time of ovulation. Research suggests that breast feeding moms are 9 times more likely to give birth to twins.

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