Mother and Baby

7 surprising factors that increase your chance of having twins or multiple babies

Section: Skin & Hair

Dreaming of having twins or multiples? Although you might have to rely a lot on Mother Nature when it comes to your baby's gender and genetics, there are things that you can do to increase your chances of having twins. 

In this article:

Although it's more common to concieve twins if you've had IVF treatment, 1 in 250 pregnancies result in twins naturally. Here are some top tips and advice to increase your chances of trying to conceive twins, naturally. 

How to get pregnant with twins:

Expand Image

1) Your family history

Yes, that’s your history, not his. In fact, even if your partner has twins in his family, it makes no difference.

‘It’s all about the woman because you’re the one producing the eggs, so if you or your mum are twins, or perhaps your sister has multiple babies, then you’ll be more likely to conceive more than one,’ says David.
Expand Image

2) Your lifestyle

Women who have a low-fat diet, especially vegans and vegetarians, are less likely to have multiples than someone who goes for the whole milk and tucks into steak every Friday.

‘The possible causes of this are subtle hormonal changes in people with these different diets, as well as perhaps someone with a higher fat diet having a higher body mass index (BMI) – that’s a measure for checking how healthy your weight is in relation to your height,’ says David.

That said, even if you are a veggie, there's plenty of fertility superfoods to start adding to your diet if you are trying to conceive - whether that's one baby or two! 
Expand Image

3) Coming off the pill

There's also an idea that if you fall pregnant when you are on the pill, or conceive soon after coming off the pill, you are more likely to get pregnant with twins. As difficult as this can be, the idea behind this theory is that for the first couple of cycles after coming off the pill, your body goes through a hormonal readjustment phase and more eggs can be released. 
Expand Image

4) The number of children you have

Chances are this is just a case of odds – but research suggests the more children you’ve had, the more likely at some stage you’ll conceive multiples. Your chances of conceiving twins are also thought to be higher if you already have twins. 

The more children you’ve had, the more likely at some stage you’ll conceive multiples

You’re simply giving yourself more opportunities to strike lucky. ‘There’s also the possibility that if you’ve always become pregnant easily in the past, you’re basically a good ovulator, so to speak’ says David.
Expand Image

5) Where you’re from

Western Europe sees around one in 60 twin pregnancies, while they’re much more rare in South East Asia. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, twins make up one in every 20 or 30 pregnancies!

‘There are no real theories I’m aware of that would account for this, but interestingly if you’re Nigerian and living in another country, you’re less likely to conceive multiples than if you’re based in Nigeria – so perhaps it’s to do with diet or climate,’ says David.

Read next: 8 fabulous foods to boost his sperm count 
Expand Image

6) Maternal age

Naturally conceived twins and triplets are more common in women in their 30s and 40s.

‘This is about the way your ovaries work and how their function changes with age, so you may release more than one egg each month,’ says David.

Fertility expert Emma Cannon adds 'There is some idea that the older you are the more likely you are to conceive twins, because apparently as you reach the end of your fertile life the body panics a bit and often releases more than one egg, so that’s one way – it’s a bit risky though!'
Expand Image

7) Fertility treatment

One of the biggies that can boost your likelihood of having more than one child is having fertility treatment, such as IVF.

‘When IVF started to get really effective in the US during the 1970s and 1980s, twin rates pretty much doubled,’ says David. ‘It’s down to your body being given drugs to stimulate it to ovulate and produce eggs.’

How common are twins?

The NHS reported in 2016, around 12,000 sets of twins and about 190 sets of triplets or more were born in the UK. This means that about 1 in every 65 births in the UK today are twins, triplets or more.

Many fertility experts believe twins are more common than we are aware of, it is reasonably common for more than one embryo to be implanted, yet in a lot of cases, only one twin survives.

Identical vs fraternal (non-identical)

Before we talk about increasing your chances of adding two to your brood, it's important to understand how twins are made. You'll probably know that there are two types of twins: identical and non-identical.

Identical twins: 

Twin boysIdentical, or monozygotic twins are made when one egg is fertilised by one sperm, which divides into two separate embryos.

They'll not only look identical but share the same genetic structures and the same placenta. 

You can find out if your twins will be identical through a DNA test. 

Non-identical or fraternal twins:

Fraternal twinsNon-identical or fraternal twins are made when two separate eggs are fertilised by two separate sperm.

These twins will have their own genetic composition and will have their own placentas. This type of twin is more common. 

‘Identical twins, which make up around a third of twin pregnancies, come from one egg and are basically a fluke of nature – there’s no known common factor in those,’ says David Davies, consultant obstetrician at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘But with non-identical twins or triplets, which come from different eggs, there are several shared influences.’

From what you eat to the size of your family, get clued up on the likelihood that you’re going to need a bigger buggy. 

How do I know if I'm carrying twins?

Many couples expecting can find out if they are having twins through the dating ultrasound scan when you're 8 to 14 weeks pregnant, but the NHS says there are some other signs to look out for:

  • If you seem bigger than you should be for your dates
  • Twins run in your family
  • You have had fertility treatment

More from


  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!

Related Content

Related content:

You May Also Like

You May Also Like