As soon as your growing belly starts to show, people all around you will inevitably have something to say about your pregnancy — even more so when you are expecting multiples. Whether you are pregnant, or your elderly upstairs neighbor just thinks you are, you have probably heard some off-the-wall old wives tales about being pregnant with twins. But it may surprise you to know that some of these beliefs handed down from generation to generation are actually true.
Old wives' tales were created to explain what was once inexplicable, and often included superstition or lore. In The Wonder of Twins, William Viney a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Durham University in the United Kingdom writes that Albert the Great believed that twins were a sign that some humans were a transitional species, somewhere between animal and human, since many animals typically produce litters rather than one offspring. Some philosophers even felt as though there were women with two to seven-celled uteri. In the middle ages, twins were associated with mutants or signs of something immoral or evil. Twins were "proof" of a woman's insatiable sexual appetite, her promiscuity, and subsequent infidelity.
Thankfully, science has progressed, and these kinds of ancient beliefs have long since been disproved. Here are some of the old wives' tales about a twin pregnancy that actually turned out to be accurate.
1. Older Mothers Are More Likely To Conceive Twins
The old wives' tale that if you try for one last baby, you'll end up with twins is totally true, especially if you're over the age of 35. California OB-GYN Bryan S. Jick wrote in Pregnancy Corner that women in their 30s are naturally more likely to conceive twins due to the fluctuations in their hormone levels, specifically their follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels, which stimulate egg production for ovulation.
2. You Can Conceive Twins By Eating Cassava
The small town in Nigeria called Igbo-Ora has the highest number of twin births in the world, with an estimated one in 22 births being twins. And some believe this phenomenon is attributed to the town's consumption of cassava (also known as yuca) a root vegetable some people refer to as a type of yam. According to Vanguard, cassava peelings contain phytoestrogen, which increases a woman’s FSH levels, and is related to hyper ovulation — the release of more than one egg, which usually leads to twin pregnancies.
Some companies have even developed cassava supplements marketed to increase a woman's chances of conceiving twins. It's important to note, however, that these supplements are not regulated by the FDA and you should speak to your doctor before taking any medication.
3. Morning Sickness Is Worse When You're Pregnant With Twins
OB-GYN Christine Greves told Parents that due to the elevated pregnancy hormone bhCG, moms carrying twins are likely to have more symptoms of nausea and vomiting than a women carrying only one baby. Twin moms are also more susceptible to the extreme form of morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum according to Greves.
4. You Are More Likely To Get Pregnant With Twins Immediately After Getting Off The Pill
Fit Bottom Mamas interviewed endocrinologist and fertility expert Dr. Samuel Wood who noted that the birth control pill suppresses the hormones that stimulate the ovaries to release eggs. Which means getting off the pill can cause a rebound elevation in these hormones, leading to a greater chance that two or more eggs will be released during the first few cycles.
5. You Will Gain More Weight If You're Pregnant With Twins
You can say that this is common sense, because there are two babies growing inside of you. But the reality is that the average mom only gains about five to 10 pounds more with a twin pregnancy than she would with a singleton pregnancy according to WebMD. Because each pregnancy is unique, you should always consult your doctor about how much weight you should gain.
6. You Are More Likely To Get Gestational Diabetes If You're Pregnant With Twins
This is true, according to the previous WebM articleD. The good news is that because twin babies tend to be smaller, the morbidity risk associated with having large babies due to gestational diabetes is lower. However, moms who've experienced gestational diabetes during a twin pregnancy are still at a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.
7. You Are More Likely To Need A C-Section To Deliver Your Twins
Because twins are often in a breech position, C-sections are very common in twin deliveries according to WebMD. In fact, according to Huffington Post in a study on twin births by Dr. Jon Barrett, 40 percent of the women delivered both twins via C-section, while 56 percent had vaginal delivery and 4 percent had a combination of vaginal and cesarean delivery.