Twin births in the United States are rising according to a 2012 report by the National Center for Health Statistics. The rate of births rose 76 percent from 1980 to 2009, and this could be due to the fact that women are using more fertility drugs and other reproductive technologies. Women who use fertility drugs have a one in three chance of having twins. Twin births also have a greater chance of being born early — less than half of all twin pregnancies extend beyond 37 weeks. While there are risks associated with twin births, it’s important to understand that these risks, of course, do not occur in every case.
1. Premature Births are a Good Thing
Twins are often born prematurely and researchers say that this is a positive thing because twins are at a greater risk for problems during pregnancy. "We found that at 37 weeks, elective birth is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of serious morbidity for infants, without increasing complications related to immaturity or induction of labour," said Professor Jodie Dodd, from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute and the Women's & Children's Hospital.
2. Moms are Two to Three Times More Likely to Develop Gestational Diabetes
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the reason that this occurs is because two placentas cause an increase in resistance to insulin. The increased placental size and elevation in placental hormones can also contribute to a higher likelihood of developing the condition. However, this information is still being tested.
3. Moms of Twins Live Longer
Researchers at the University of Utah found that moms of twins tend to live longer than moms of single births. They came to this conclusion after looking at the birth records of more than 59,000 women between 1800 and 1970, The Huffington Post reported.
4. Identical Twins Each at 1 in 800 Chance of Down Syndrome
Fraternal twins are not at an increased risk for Down syndrome. The risk for one of the fraternal twin babies being born with Down syndrome is the same as having a single baby (one in 800 pregnancies). For identical twins, which are split from one embryo, however, the risk is the same but the effect double, meaning that the risk for both twins having Down syndrome is one in 800.
5. Twins Can Speak Their Own Language
While it might not last very long, twins can develop their own language. A study published in the Institute of General Linguistics found that “autonomous languages” or languages incomprehensible to others exist in as many as 40 percent of twins.
Twin births have a greater chance of occurring if there is a family history of twins. Other factors include conceiving at an older age and being of African descent. So if you are a twin (identical or fraternal) or pregnant with twins, remember that it might be stressful, but life can also be "two-riffic" for twins.