Although there is no definite way to guarantee a twin pregnancy, there are some methods that can help tip the scales in your favor. You can increase your chances of conceiving twins by including yams, dairy products, and foods rich in zinc and protein into your diet.
Everyone knows that a baby is a little bundle of joy, a family’s core, that special person to bring families closer together. What could be better than that? Well, if one baby is good, then two are even better. But how can you guarantee that you’ll get pregnant with twins? The truth of the matter is that you can’t, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t increase your chances by changing both your diet and your partners. So, what foods do you need to know about?
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What Should I Eat to Conceive Twins?
In Nigeria, a study on the Yoruba tribe took place after it was noted that the women there have the highest rate of twin births in the world, and generally high fertility rate.
The study concluded that the high rate of twin births could be due to the large number of white yams that make up most of the tribe’s diet. White yams are naturally rich in progesterone and phytoestrogens, which lead some researchers to believe that they cause hyper-ovulation by stimulating the ovaries.
A second study hypothesized that yams may also trick the brain into releasing more gonadotropin by convincing it that there is insufficient estrogen in the body; gonadotropins are hormones that stimulate the ovaries in women and the testicles in men.
This root tuba crop was also found to be one of the main components of the Yoruba tribe’s diet. It is naturally rich in vitamin C and folic acid. The Yoruba tribe dry the root after harvesting, then blend it in with the yams as a part of their natural diet.
Although there haven’t been many studies conducted on the root itself, some researchers assume that it also aids in hyper-ovulation, much in the same way that the yams do.
In order to increase your chances of conception,doctors recommend that you consume foods with high levels of folic acid, or that you take folic acid supplements. Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, sprouts, cabbage, and asparagus are naturally rich in folic acids.
While folic acid does aid in conception, some researchers believe that if you are trying for twins, you should eat twice the daily recommended dosage to better increase your chances. Folic acid also helps to prevent some birth abnormalities such as spina bifida in unborn babies.
Dairy products are known to help the body produce a protein known as the insulin-like growth factor. Insulin-like growth factor allows women’s ovaries to release more eggs, which in turn raises the possibility of conceiving twins.
In a 2006 study, researcher Gary Steinman found that women who consumed more dairy products were five-times more likely to conceive twins.
Although there is little evidence to show that consuming the maca root will help in the conception of twins, it is still beneficial in boosting fertility rates in both men and women.
It is known to boost sperm count, increase libido, and it can even be used to treat the symptoms of menopause in older women.
Not only are complex carbohydrates good for you, they also increase fertility rates, thus increasing your chances of conceiving twins.
As well as increasing your fertility rates, complex carbohydrates have been hypothesized to prevent neural birth defects in babies. Complex carbohydrates can be found in grains, beans, and vegetables, and breakfast cereals.
Some studies have found that vegans have lower chances of birthing twins. It is believed this is because vegans are more likely to be underweight or lack certain nutrients that aid fertility rates.
Therefore, a little more meat in your diet can’t hurt.
Leaves from this hibiscus plant are rich in Vitamin C, protein, calcium, iron, and are a good source of fiber. The Yoruba tribe believe that by combining this leaf with the yam and cassava, the conception of twins is more likely to occur, although thus far there has been little research conducted on the plant to back up this claim.
Foods Rich in Zinc / Zinc Supplements
Although zinc doesn’t specifically help with conceiving twins, it is known to boost the fertility rate in both women and men.
In men, zinc boosts the sperm count and improves sperm mobility, thus increasing the chances of conception. Some foods rich in zinc are shellfish, crabs, oysters, red meats, nuts, and whole grains.
Pineapples cores are naturally packed full of an enzyme known as bromelain. Bromelain is known to act as an anti-inflammatory that helps the blood flow to the uterus, which may in turn increase the chances of a twin conception.
Tips to Incorporate the Foods Into Your Diet
- Like the Yoruba tribe, try making amala. Amala is a mix of dried yams and cassava flour. Multiple recipes can be found online for this Nigerian delicacy.
- Yams can be cooked, boiled, baked, roasted, or fried.
- The dried-out powder of the maca root can be added to tea, smoothies, and yogurts, with multiple recipes available online.
- Okra leaves can be used to make a soup that pairs well with amala.
- Yogurt comes in multiple flours, and can be used as a snack or a cooking additive; it is a versatile food which can help boost your dairy intake.
- Small portions of nuts and grains make great snacks while you are trying to conceive twins.
- Boost multiple vitamins at the same time with fruit salads.
Other Factors to Consider
While dietary changes are a good start to trying to conceive twins, you should also know about some lifestyle changes that you should make, which may also aid your chances.
Underweight women are less likely to conceive a child. As for having twins, many studies have shown that slightly overweight women have the best chances for this.
The recommended BMI for women trying for twins is 30, however it should be noted that a healthy BMI is in the 20-25 range, so you should only use this method as a last resort.
If your already have a baby while you are trying to conceive twins, then you should keep on breastfeeding. It has been found that breastfeeding mothers are nine times more likely to conceive twins due to the extra prolactin that the body provides while breastfeeding.
A researcher found that women who conceive while breastfeeding are nine times more likely to become pregnant with twins than women who are not breastfeeding at the time of conception
Your Partner’s Diet
When you are trying to conceive twins, your partner’s diet is just as important as your own. Oysters are one of the best foods that men can eat if you are trying for twins. The high levels of zinc aid the production and mobility of sperm, which in turn increases the chances of more than one egg being fertilized.
Some studies have noted that women who conceive within 3-6 months after stopping the pill are 70% more likely to have twins than women who don’t do this. However, since twins are relatively rare, this method only means that 6 in 1000 women conceive twins this way.
Women who have already had one or two children before tend to have a slightly higher chance of conceiving twins.
Alas, there are also factors that cannot be controlled when it comes to having a twin pregnancy. Taller women are generally more likely to have twins, due to their own natural hormones. African women also tend to have higher rates of twin pregnancies as opposed to Asian, Hispanic or Caucasian women.
Women in their thirties also have a slightly higher chance of conceiving twins, due to an innate evolutionary response which sometimes allows ovulating women to release more than one egg.
Please note that you will have to consult a doctor if you wish to try any of the methods below.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)
IVF treatment can be a long and expensive road to go down, and is usually reserved for those who are having trouble conceiving at all. Although it does not guarantee twins, some studies have found that women who undergo IVF treatments can be up to 20 – 40% more likely to conceive twins than those who don’t.
The process works by doctors extracting mature eggs, and then fertilising them in a lab with sperm from your partner. After that, the eggs are implanted in your uterus, with the hopes of creating a positive pregnancy.
Fertility drugs such as clomid or gonadotropins can be used to spur the ovaries in hyper-ovulation, increasing the number of eggs they produce. This process will only ever result in fraternal twins, since identical twins come from one egg that splits, giving the babies the same genetic information.
Conceiving twins can be a mix of luck, family history, and genetics. There is no absolute guarantee that you will ever have twins, but by using some of the above methods, you may well increase your chances.
Whether you’re after double the trouble, or two bundles of joy, it is clear that your diet and lifestyle can have an impact, and hopefully help you get the twins you want.