How to Conceive Twins or Triplets

Fertility treatments often yield multiple births, and twins and triplets occur more frequently these days as more and more women seek such treatments. Whether by taking fertility drugs that stimulate the ovaries, or by having several embryos implanted at once, a woman can easily conceive twins or triplets by artificial means.

However, there are many ways to increase your chances of having twins naturally. Even if you have no family history of twins on your mother's side, you can make your body an environment that is favorable for conceiving twins or triplets. Here are some tips.

First, understand the two types of twins that can occur: monozygotic (identical), and dizygotic (fraternal). Identical twins arise when a fertilized egg splits into two identical embryos. Fraternal twins arise from two separate eggs that are fertilized by two different sperm. It is easier to conceive fraternal twins than identical twins.

To increase your chances of having twins or triplets, you should improve your chances of having a baby in the first place. Take folic acid every day, starting several months before you think about conceiving. Put on more weight, quit alcohol and tobacco, and consume more dairy to help you concieve.

Eat foods that encourage your ovaries to release more eggs during the ovulation cycle. For example, yams have compounds that over-stimulate the ovaries, and many women who eat them frequently have a higher rate of conceiving fraternal twins and triplets. Foods that encourage progesterone production, such as walnuts, whole grains, eggs, and chicken, can also help you conceive multiples.

Try to conceive when you are older. Between the ages of 20 and 30, a woman has a 3% chance of naturally conceiving twins or triplets. But between the ages of 30 and 40, that rate jumps to 6%. Keep in mind that the older you are when you conceive, the higher the risk of your baby having Down Syndrome.

Your chances of conceiving twins increases as you have more children. This is true not only because of the laws of probability, but also because having a child makes you gain weight. This extra body weight encourages conception of twins.

In a small percentage of women, their ovaries release extra eggs when they abruptly stop taking birth control. This will increase your chances of conceiving fraternal twins. (Most women actually experience a brief period of infertility when they stop taking the pill, so this trick will not work for most women.)

Understand that none of these tricks are foolproof, and they won't help everyone conceive triplets or twins. Genetics is actually the biggest factor in whether or not you have multiples; women whose mothers had twins or triplets are more likely to give birth to twins themselves. However, changing some external factors can tip the scales in your favor.

© Had2Know 2010

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