Sunny With a Chance of Twins
There is just something irresistibly charming about twins—two cherubic babies, twenty tiny toes, immediate best friends with an unbreakable bond—even if it does mean double the diapers. Twins are not as rare as they once were, but the recent increase in twin conceptions can be chalked up to fertility treatments that are becoming more common and more successful. But what if you have no medical reason to seek fertility treatments? Is there anything you can do to improve your odds of conceiving twins naturally?
Increase Your Chances of Conceiving Twins Naturally
If you are yearning for identical twins, there’s not much you can do but hope and pray. Identical twins are nature's lightning bolt. Occasionally, a fertilized egg will divide and two fetuses that have the same genetic makeup will form. If it happens, it happens. There's nothing you can do to increase your odds. However, fraternal twins are conceived when more than one egg is available to be fertilized. During a typical menstrual cycle, an ovary releases one egg which travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus hoping to meet a lucky sperm. If you can convince your ovaries to release more than one egg during your menstrual cycle, your chances of having twins is increased.
So is there any way to shift those ovaries into overdrive? Here are a handful of things that can boost your odds of conceiving twins naturally.
- Age: As you age, your body undergoes subtle hormonal changes as it creeps toward menopause. Women over 35 are more likely to release more than one egg during ovulation and spontaneously conceive twins. Women who have had more pregnancies are also more likely to have twins.
- Lactating: Women who are nursing conceive twins more frequently, perhaps because their hormone levels are a little different to facilitate breastfeeding and the menstrual cycle is not quite regular.
- Folic acid: This nutrient aids the follicular development of the ova and could increase the possibility of the ovaries releasing more than one egg.
- Yams: These aren't your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, but an African yam known as cassava root. In regions of Africa where this yam is a staple, women have an unusually high rate of twins. This may be due partly to arginine, an amino acid believed to aid fertility.
- Milk: One study conducted showed that diets containing lots of dairy products resulted in twins more often than a diet with no milk products.
- Weight: A little extra padding could actually help you. A fat percentage that is slightly higher than normal seems to be more conducive to conceiving twins. However, don't eat the entire carton of ice cream because weight can also contribute to infertility.
- The Pill: Women who conceive in the first cycle or two after quitting a birth control pill have twins more often than those who have not been using a contraceptive medication. Again, possibly due to the fluctuation in hormone levels causing an extra egg to be released.
Whether trying to conceive one baby or two, your first time or your fourth, it's important to stay in good health. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and taking a prenatal vitamin will help ensure that any child you do conceive will get the best start possible.