I’m a twin mom.
We’re a growing group of mothers, as multiple births are on the rise. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, twins represent 32.6 out of every 1,000 births in the US.
That number has risen sharply since 1984, which points to fertility treatments and women giving birth at older ages. Older women are much more likely to give birth to twins or triplets.
That knowledge does not make twinning any less shocking.
I discovered that I was carrying twins at age 37, at a routine 21-week ultrasound! (At least I finally figured out why I was so sick and tired!)
So what are some of the known factors for spontaneous twinning?
- Maternal age over 35.
- Are you, your mother or your mother’s mother a fraternal twin? If so, it is possible that you carry a gene for hyperovulation.
- You’ve already had a set of fraternal twins. (Yes, if you are lucky enough to have twins once, your chances are 1 in 12 that you’ll have another set of twins!)
- Mother is overweight or tall. (This study shows that there is an increase in twinning in women with a BMI of 30 or greater and/or above-average height)
The above factors, of course, only affect fraternal (or dizygotic) twins. Identical (or monozygotic) twins are much rarer and are caused by the splitting of a single egg.
That being said, the only way to really try to conceive twins is to use fertility treatments to stimulate hyperovulation, wait until your forties to have children or gain significant weight.
Sometimes, twins just happen. While I was older than average when our twins were conceived, I was not in my forties.
While I was slightly overweight, I was not yet obese. I’ve always been extremely fertile, so fertility medications were off the table. To be honest, I had twin dreams from the very beginning, and enough twin mom friends “teasing” me that I was carrying twins…and it was my greatest fear!
In the end, these little girls (now 2 years old) are my greatest blessings, but their pregnancy, delivery, and first-year taught me a lot about myself as a mother, and as a mentor and friend.
In the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my twin experiences with you. I hope that it helps those of you who may be experiencing a twin pregnancy, or can help you support a woman who is pregnant with twins.
I was blessed that I am a good pregnant mother. (Oh yes, I am sick and I complain the whole time, but my body does a really good job, even if my mind does not!) All four of my previous pregnancies were carried to 41 weeks. I had never needed an epidural, and I never fought pre-term labor.
I had delivered large babies (8lbs 11 oz, 10lbs 15oz, 8 lbs 1oz, and 8 lbs 11oz), so we never worried that twins would be too hard on my body.
My biggest fears were c-section and an inability to breastfeed.
How do you think things turned out?