Whether you're hoping for twins, or hoping not to have them, you might be wondering if there is anything to tip the scales in your favor a little. Is there any truth to those old wives' tales about getting pregnant with twins? After all, sometimes myths get passed down from generation to generation for a reason, right?
I have a friend who really wants to knock out two babies with one pregnancy (she's efficient like that), so we started kicking around ways for her to achieve this feat without going the IVF route. We were both amused to learn that the age-old myth that it's easier to conceive multiples if you're older, isn't actually a myth at all — and not jut because of fertility treatments. "[O]lder women have higher levels of a hormone called FSH, prompting greater likelihood of having fraternal twins," according to WebMD, reporting on a 2006 study by researchers in the Netherlands that was originally published in Human Reproduction.
Hmmm... it looks like those old wives might be on to something. Here are 4 more theories about conceiving twins that may not be totally scientifically proven, but sure are fun to indulge in, that is, if you're trying to go for a double.
1. Yams, Yams, Yams
If you're like me, you eat yams once a year and that's during Thanksgiving. But, the Yoruba, a large ethnic group in southwestern Nigeria, parts of Benin, Togo and Ghana, have one of the highest rate of twin births in the world, and that's often credited to their heavy consumption of yams, according to Africa Check.
Coincidence? Maybe. But if you're pining for twins, a daily dose of yams might be the ticket. You just need to make sure you're actually buying yams. "The yams in Nigeria have a light yellow, almost white, flesh. The orange-fleshed variety that we see in the market labeled “Yams” are, in fact, sweet potatoes," explained Dr. Samuel Pang in Fertility Authority.
2. Quit the Pill
Another common theory posits that it's easier to get pregnant with twins immediately after you stop taking the pill. So, is there any truth to it? Yes, and no, according to the research.
"A 1977 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who got pregnant shortly after stopping oral contraceptives were twice as likely to have twins," explained VeryWell Family, which noted that this "Twin effect" was credited to the ovaries going into superovulation after the pill was discontinued.
However, the same VeryWell Family article cited another study from 1987 that "showed no association between twins and taking oral contraceptives."
Science might be split, but many moms swear that it was because they hit the sheets right after quitting the pill that led to their twin situation.
3. Twins Run In Families
Saying that twins run in families might seem like a basic fertility fact, but it really depends on which side of the family you're talking about. If you're referring to the paternal side having a twin streak, that's nothing more than an old wives' tale.
"However, for a given pregnancy, only the mother’s genetics matter. Fraternal twins happen when two eggs are simultaneously fertilized instead of just one. A father’s genes can’t make a woman release two eggs," according to Dr. Anja Scholze of The Tech, which is a site run by Stanford University's Genetics Department.
Another interesting thing to note is that only fraternal twins can have a genetic component, according to Scholze.
4. Bigger is better
Some people subscribe to the old wives' tale that being bigger can actually increase your odds of bearing twins. But does your physical stature really have anything to do with it? The answer to this one is surprisingly, yes.
"Fraternal twins are more common in women who are larger. This could mean taller and/or overweight. Experts aren’t sure why this is the case, but suspect it might be because these women take in more nutrients than smaller women," according to Healthline.
You might not want to gain weight to get pregnant, unless it's something that your doctor actually recommends, but if you're committed to conceiving twins, perhaps increasing your BMI could help.