Conceiving twins


  • Putting Dr G On The Spot
  • Sunday, 05 Feb 2017

Dear Dr G,  

I read with interest the article you wrote about how to get pregnant for the Year of the Rooster.  

I am sorry I would like to put you on the spot for a more challenging task.  

I fully understand your comments you made about getting pregnant has nothing to do with sexual position, and more related to the timing of sex and keeping a healthy lifestyle.  

I have different requirements - my husband and I are both 26 years old and we decided to have babies.  

I saw how good my sister’s life has been after the birth of her twin girls. The girls are now two years old, and they get along very well.  

My sister and her husband also seem to cope well with their twins.  

My husband says the way to get twins is to have “double intercourse” in order to increase chances of twin pregnancies. Is that true?  

What are my chances of getting twins and any tips in getting them?  

Besides, are there any risks of a twin pregnancy?  

Regards

June  

Twins are essentially two offspring produced by the same pregnancy. In medical terms, the twins can either be identical or non-identical.  

In identical twins, the fetus is developed from one zygote that splits to two embryos and develop into two babies.  

Non-identical twins arise from two different eggs and fertilisations of different sperms, the dizygotic twins develop into two babies independently.  

People are generally fascinated by the idea of twins, as the myths often associate with the mysteriousness of how one pregnancy can result in more than one baby.  

Twin birth rates have increase in recent decades around the world. In United States, the twin rate has increased from 18.9 to 33.3 per 1,000 births.  

The increase in multiple pregnancies is most likely related to artificial reproductive technology such as IVF.  

In the case of IVF, multiple eggs that are fertilised can be planted back to the womb, so the chances of pregnancy persist, even if some embryos do not survive.  

Specialist normally will limit the numbers because of the risk of survival of all embryos which results in high-risk multiple pregnancies.  

Women with a family history of non-identical twins are likely to be genetically linked to the tendency of hyper-ovulation.  

However, there is generally no genetic link of identical twins. Apart from family history, other factors that influence the births of twins are maternal age (30-40 years old), prior pregnancy, and greater than average height and weight.  

The chances of twin pregnancies also vary in different parts of the world. Central Africa has the highest chance at 18-30 twins sets per 1,000 births, compared with South-East Asia, where the pregnancy statistic is only six-nine twin sets per 1,000 live births.  

The Yoruba people in Nigeria are also noted to have the highest pregnancy rates for twins in the world. This stands at 45-50 sets of twins every 1,000 pregnancies.  

Experts argue this may be due to high consumption of a specific Yam containing natural phytoestrogen, which can potentially stimulate hyper-ovulations in both ovaries.  

There is no study conducted to assess the correlation of different sexual positions and attempts to increase the chances of twin pregnancies.  

Although some men may lead you to believe the anecdotal successes, I urge you to consider them as urban myth, as there is no logic that vigorous sex or multiple attempts in a short period of time enhances the outcome. (PS. I assume this is what your husband meant by “double intercourse”).  

Twin pregnancies are generally agreed by clinicians to carry higher risks.  

The incidence of complications such as intrauterine growth retardation, twin to twin transfusion, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, congenital malformation, preterm labour and delivery are some of the documented risks that are associated with twin pregnancies.  

As a result, mothers with twins are urged to be more cautious throughout their pregnancy.  

My advice is stick to having regular healthy sexual relationships like everyone else. You will never know as nature may deliver your double joy as you wished for!

 

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