There’s no question that having a baby is an amazing experience for all mothers, but what about the excitement of having two? Twins occur when one fertilised egg splits and develops into two identical babies (monozygotic), or two separate eggs are released and develop individually (dizygotic).
Two babies can mean twice the excitement, but it can also be a lot of work. Many mothers may be wondering what their chances are of conceiving twins and what factors make it more or less likely. So let’s take a look at how the numbers stack up.
Having twins is definitely a big surprise for a lot of mothers, but what are the chances and what factors make it more likely?
What Are The Odds?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, twins account for roughly one in 80 births and of these 30 percent are identical. Twins account for more than 90 percent of multiple births, however. multiple births have increased 60 percent in the last 30 years, with researchers citing ovulation drugs and women choosing to conceive later as key factors (yes, the odds of you having twins increase as you get older!).
Despite these statistics, there are many factors that can influence the chance of mothers conceiving twins.
Age is one of the biggest factors when it comes to conceiving twins. Women are progressively more likely to have twins each year over 30, as the body produces more and more follicle stimulating hormone of (FSH). The body releases more hormone as ovaries age in a reaction to lowering fertility, however, sometimes there is an overreaction and multiple eggs are released.
If you have identical twins in the family, it won’t increase your chances of conceiving twins, however, if you have non-identical twins in the family, it will, especially if the twins are on the mother’s side.
Women who are obese, or have a BMI over 30, have a higher chance of conceiving twins, this is because extra fat can lead to an increase in oestrogen production which can stimulate the ovaries.
Women who are taller are more likely to conceive twins. The reason for this is unknown, but one theory is that taller women carry more insulin-like growth factor (IGF) which can make the ovaries more sensitive.
Diet affects just about every aspect of the body and pregnancy is no different. Women who eat a lot of dairy foods have been found to be more likely to conceive twins, which possibly relates to the growth hormone that is fed to cows. This is banned in Australian agriculture, so eating local produce is quite safe.
Fertility treatments that boost ovulation have a significant effect on a mother’s chance of conceiving twins. It has been found that certain treatments can even double the chances of multiples, identical and non-identical twins.
If you would like to learn more about twins and pregnancy and would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Dr Bevan Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in the Hills District.
We understand that no two pregnancies are the same, so we’re there for you every step of the way, before, during and after. Personalised care and strong relationships with our patients is of utmost importance to us!