Ways to Increase Your Chance of Having Twins

Many people wonder what it takes to have twins, triplets, or more. While having multiples is sometimes an act of fate, parents of multiples say some common factors increased their chances of conceiving them. Most of these are not scientifically proven but rooted more in tradition or personal experience.

Keep in mind, too, that if you’re hoping to have multiples, you should be aware of the risks and complications associated with a multiple pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and prematurity.

Please note that these are not recommended strategies for conceiving multiples. These are merely observations on some of the factors associated with increased odds of twinning. Please consult your medical care provider. 

Have a History

Twin baby boys
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Do twins run in your family? If you have a mother, brother, sister, uncle, or long-lost cousin with multiples, you may wonder if you'll have them too.

Sometimes twinning is hereditary, it's true. However, only fraternal (dizygotic) twins are influenced by heredity, and then only in some cases. If your mother or maternal grandmother was or had fraternal twins, you might have inherited a gene for hyperovulation, increasing your chances of conceiving twins also.

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Grow or Gain Weight

A study published by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology correlates the rise in multiple birth rates with rising rates of obesity. The research found that mothers with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or higher were significantly more likely to have twins.

Again, this statistic only holds true for fraternal (dizygotic) twins. The research also showed that women of above-average height were also more likely to have multiples.

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Grow Up: Wait Until You're Older

Older mothers are more likely to conceive twins than their younger counterparts. It's thought that the body accelerates ovulation as the biological clock starts ticking faster. Almost 20 percent of mothers who give birth over the age of 45 have multiples.

However, the risks also increase. Older mothers have a higher rate of miscarriage and are more likely to experience problems such as gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. In addition, their babies are at higher risk for chromosomal abnormalities.

Have More Twins

Once you have had a multiple pregnancy, you are significantly more likely to conceive – and deliver – twins again. Some estimates suggest that mothers of twins are four times more likely to have twins again than a woman who has never been pregnant, or who only had a singleton.

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Eat Yams and Dairy

No one is quite sure why, but the Yoruba tribe in West Africa has the highest rate of twinning in the world. A study concluded that the mother's diet was the cause, being high in cassava, a type of yam or sweet potato. The peelings of this vegetable are thought to contain a chemical that causes hyperovulation.

Another study suggested that women who consume dairy are more likely to have twins. This may be due to high levels of a synthetic hormone in milk products, but a subsequent study questioned the connection.

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Seek Fertility Assistance

Reproductive technology has dramatically increased the multiple birth rate. Drugs that stimulate ovulation can lead to a multiple pregnancy, and multiples can also result from in vitro fertilization. It's not just that multiple embryos are implanted in the mother, but there is also an unexplained increase in the number of monozygotic pregnancies among IVF patients. 

No ethical doctor would provide treatment if it wasn't warranted, so fertility assistance should only be sought out when necessary.

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Have A Big Family

The more kids you have, the more likely you are to conceive twins in a subsequent pregnancy. No one knows the magic limit that triggers a multiple pregnancy, so you'll just have to keep trying until it happens.

Conceive While Breastfeeding

Most people think that you can't get pregnant while breastfeeding because the process of lactating keeps a woman from ovulating. However, plenty of mothers of twins will disagree with that idea.

Some research has supported the theory that the chance of twins or multiples is increased if a woman conceives while breastfeeding. One study claimed that women who become pregnant while breastfeeding were nine times more likely to conceive twins than women who are not breastfeeding at the time of conception. 

Get Pregnant On the Pill

Birth control pills are usually thought to be 99.9 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. However, that .01 percent might result in a double whammy – multiples.

Sometimes pregnancy occurs when the pill isn't taken consistently. In other cases, the hormonal mix of a particular drug type simply doesn't provide enough coverage to completely prevent ovulation. In either case, playing around with hormones can lead to ​hyperovulation, increasing the chances of multiples.

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Just Get Lucky!

Many parents of multiples don't meet any of the classic criteria, yet find themselves doubly blessed. Monozygotic twins are particularly mysterious; no one is exactly certain what causes an egg to split after conception, producing identical twins.

The bottom line is that there truly isn't a lot an individual can do to influence their chances of having twins; sometimes you just get lucky!


Akinboro, A (2008).."Frequency of twinning in southwest Nigeria." Indian Journal of Human Genetics, 41.

British Fertility Society. (2012) "In Vitro Fertilisation: Perinatal Risks and Early Childhood Outcomes." Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/scientific-impact-papers/sip_8.pdf

Beemsterboer, S. (2006). "The paradox of declining fertility but increasing twinning rates with advancing maternal age." Human Reproduction, 1531.

Reddy, Uma M., Branum, Amy, Klebanoff, Mark A. (2005). “Relationship of Maternal Body Mass Index and Height to Twinning.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 593.

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