These days when you are expecting twins, you are usually met with one of two inquiries: “Oh, did you go through IVF?” (to which the correct response is to roll your eyes and waddle away); or “Do twins run in the family?”
Yes, conceiving through IVF and having twins in the family can increase your odds of having a multiple birth, but there are plenty of other factors that can help your chance of conceiving twins as well. Sure, they are considered old wives’ tales, but, hey, they’ve been around for thousands of years. There must be some truth behind them!
What are the odds?
While the global average of twinning is around 13 per 1,000 births, Australia’s figure is at 12.5 per 1,000 births. This equates to one birth in 80 being a twin birth with 4,730 sets of twins born in Australia in 2015. While this may seem like a lot, the twin population only represents 1.6 percent of all births.
Last year there were 84 sets of triplets and higher order multiples born, representing .003 per cent of all births.
So, how you can increase your chances?
You can’t guarantee anything in life, especially in pregnancy, but here are some ways to boost your probability of a multiple birth:
1. Indulge on the dairy
Protein found in dairy products can increase the odds of conceiving twins by upping the chances you will release multiple eggs.
2. Up your intake of folic acid
Doctors recommend that all pregnant women take folic acid for one month before conception but the supplement has also been linked to increasing the odds of twins when coupled with fertility drugs.
3. Switch to sweet potato
They are a delicious alternative to regular potato and are packed with potential multiple-birth making material. Try this amazing stuffed sweet potato recipe for dinner tonight.
4. Try to conceive straight after being on the Pill
After you stop taking the birth control pill, your body may release multiple eggs as it re-regulates to its natural hormone production.
5. Gain weight
Women who are a little bit on the heavier side have better odds of conceiving multiples than skinnier women. It is also thought that women who are tall have a better chance of conceiving twins, but I doubt wearing a pair of high heels is really going to trick your body into giving you twins. You never know though. Any excuse to buy a new pair of shoes is a good one.
6. Wait to procreate
While fertility decreases with age, your chances of conceiving twins slightly increases with every passing birthday. Your odds are at 3 per cent at age 25 to 29, 4 per cent at age 30 to 34 and 5 per cent at age 35 to 39.
7. Just keep conceiving
The more kids your have, the better your odds of the next being a multiple.
8. Consider cassava.
This is a root vegetable (also known as yucca) that is supposedly the super food for super ovulation. Women from the town in Nigeria with the highest twin birth rate in the world eat stacks of yucca. Doctors explain that cassava peelings contain phytoestrogen which can increase a woman’s FSH levels and improve the chance of releasing more than one egg.
9. Drink Bourbon (pre-pregnancy of course)
Not even joking. It’s one of the food and beverages listed with the highest levels of phytoestrogen. Other non-alcoholic super ovulation foods include soy beans, tofu, tempeh, soy beverages, linseed (flax), sesame seeds, wheat, berries, oats, barley, dried beans, lentils, rice, alfalfa, mung beans, apples, carrots, pomegranates, wheat germ, rice bran, soy linseed bread, ginseng and anise.
10. Force oysters down your partner’s throat
They are high in zinc and this helps with sperm production. The faster they can swim, the greater the likelihood of being about to fertilise an egg or two. Not big on oysters? Other alternatives that contain a lot of zinc include green leafy vegetables, cereals, bread, seeds and wheat germ.
11. Extend your breastfeeding efforts
Women who breastfeed and produce prolactin are more likely to conceive twins. Of course, breastfeeding can put your own menstruation system out of whack, especially during the first year. But hey, you never know!