What are the Odds of Having Twins

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You’re pregnant and you’re sitting there wondering, “Am I carrying more than one baby in my tummy?” You suddenly feel queasy because you couldn’t have imagined twins. Then…a momentary feeling of ecstasy: “am I having twins? OMG!”

Couples don’t usually think of twins any more than they do about blue cheese, but if there’s the slightest sentiment that they could be having twins, they begin to wonder about the odds and then ask their physician if indeed, it is a twin pregnancy.

Thanks to advances in modern science and to the millions of twins that have been born to families around the world, there is information available that we can rely on - not to mention tests. There are also quizzes and questionaires online that you could use strictly for fun so you can get a rough idea if you’re carrying around more than one fetus. We strongly recommend, however, that you obtain the diagnosis from your obstetrician or GP. Quizzes are entertaining, but as we experienced in grade school, they don’t always make the grade (no pun intended).

Are the Odds in your Favor?

Here are a few factors that you ought to consider when weighing the likelihood of giving birth to twins.

  • Family history - If you, your mother and grandmother are fraternal twins, then the chances are higher that you could be producing twins yourself. Please note what we just said: “chances are higher”. Just because this is the case does not mean you WILL give birth to twins.
  • Use of fertility drugs - Information gathered on the Net suggested that if you’re taking fertility drugs or undergoing fertility treatments, there is a 1 in 38 chance that you could have twins. The same information we read said that if you’re taking the drug Clomid, you increase your odds at 1 out of 5!
  • Your age - If you’re 45 and older, there is a strong likelihood that twins may be coming your way. Scientific studies have revealed that 17% of women in this age group give birth to twins.
  • You already have fraternal twins
  • If you have already given birth to fraternal twins, chances are you could be having more.
  • Race
  • We don’t know how much merit we should give this but reports appear to indicate that if you’re Nigerian, the possibilities of you giving birth to twins are high. Nigeria apparently has the world’s highest rate of twins and multiples in proportion to the population. Asians and Hispanics on the other hand have a lower incidence of twin or multiple pregnancies.
  • Height and weight

Again, we would take these factors with a grain of salt. The information so far indicates that if you’re overweight and tall, you stand a better chance of giving birth to twins than your slim and shorter friends and colleagues.

Odds of Having Twins: Find Out Using Tested Methods

Don’t waste your time going to a palm or Tarot reader if you really want to know if you have twins inside you. Of course, if you want to giggle and do it for fun, by all means, book an appointment with your reader.

But if your husband and the rest of the family are eager for news and want to be assured that they’ll be welcoming twins into the clan soon, there are medical tests you can undergo. Here are some:

  • Ultrasound - An ultrasound would show images of the fetus and will reveal if there is more than one fetus in the womb.
  • Constant fatigue; unusual morning sickness
  • If you’re feeling more tired than usual (and pregnancy does tend to cause this), then that could be a sign of a twin pregnancy. The same goes for excessive morning sickness.
  • AFP test
  • Doctors use this test – more commonly known as “maternal serum screening.” AFP stands for alphafeto-protein. It is a test that is carried out during the 15-20 week pregnancy time frame, and while it is used to detect any abnormalities in the fetus (such as a potential disorder like spina bifida or Down’s syndrome), results of the AFP test can also clue doctors into the presence of twins.
  • Measurement of the uterine fundus
  • This is the measurement of the “fundal height” (uterine fundus) and is performed when the pregnancy enters the third trimester. The way to measure is to put the tape over the abdomen of the mother. It must measure the distance between the pubis area to the highest point of the uterus. A baby that’s 33 weeks old should measure 33 centimeters, give or take a two-centimeter difference.
  • Doppler heartbeat
  • Each human has only one heartbeat, but if a pregnant mother is carrying twins, an experienced doctor can usually detect more than one heartbeat.
  • Early movement detection
  • It’s exciting when a pregnant woman feels that the baby is moving inside her. But when there’s movement too early, it can signal that twins are on the way.
  • Extraordinary weight gain
  • Again, while this is not a determinant of twins, unusual weight gain could be one factor that points to the possibility of twins.

Online Questionaires

Some of us like answering questionaires online because they provide instant results; if you’re pregnant and you’re wondering if you’re going to have twins, there are some questionaires that you could fill in. We need to reiterate, however, that these questions are only rough indices for a twin pregnancy and must not be a substitute for a personal consultation with your physician or obstetrician.

Online questionaires relating to twin pregnancies may include questions such as:

  • how early during your pregnancy did you feel the baby’s movements?
  • do you have a family history of twins or multiples?
  • have you undergone any fertility treatments or taken fertility drugs?
  • what is your age?
  • what kind of diet do you have?
  • have you gained a lot of weight?
  • were your previous pregnancies twin pregnancies?
  • were you overweight before getting pregnant?
  • what is your level of energy?
  • what were the results of your ultrasound, AFP and Doppler tests?
  • did you become pregnant while breastfeeding?
  • were you taking birth control pills?

Based on your answers to these questions, the questionaire will indicate whether you could be giving birth to twins soon!

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