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28th January 2018

Health Visitor blog Twins

This week’s blog is a little unusual as we at the nursery are celebrating having 7 sets of twins, which is amazing, so with that in mind, we thought it would be interesting just to do a little piece on twins for those of you who may not be familiar with twins.
What are twins?
The term twin refers to two individuals who have shared the same uterus and are usually, but not always born on the same day.
Twins can either be ‘monozygotic’ or ‘identical’ meaning that they develop from one zygote which splits and forms two embryos. The other type of twin is a ‘fraternal’ or ‘dizygotic’ twin meaning that they develop from two different eggs but each twin is fertilized by its own sperm cell. Around 1 in 3 sets of twins are identical.
So what increases the odds of having twins?
*Advancing age of the mother- women in their 30’s and 40’s have a higher level of the sex hormone oestrogen and as a result their ovaries are stimulated to produce more than one egg at a time.
*Number of previous pregnancies- the greater number of pregnancies a woman has already had, the higher her odds of having twins is.
*Heredity- a woman is more likely to conceive fraternal twins if she is a fraternal twin, has already had fraternal twins or has siblings who are fraternal twins.
*Race- Black African women have the highest incidence of twins, whilst Asian women have the lowest.
*Assisted reproductive techniques- many procedures rely on stimulating the ovaries with fertility drugs to produce eggs and often several eggs are produced per ovulation.
Gestation for twins
The normal length of gestation for a single baby is about 40 weeks however with twins, either fraternal or identical is around 38 weeks. The shorter gestation time is because twins put an increased demand on the mother’s body and because of the inability of the babies to receive all the nutrients they need whilst they are in the womb. Quite often twins are born prematurely and as a result, often they have lower birth weights.
Twin Telepathy- Fact or Fiction?
Telepathy refers to a process of assessing thoughts or feelings without help from sensory input like sound, sight or touch.
There have been many studies conducted on the subject of twin telepathy and the idea that twins share a special connection beyond that of ordinary siblings. You may have heard unusual stories whereby one twin maybe hurt, for example they may be having a heart attack and the other twin feels a physical sensation of that pain even if they are unaware the event is even taking place. Also it is common for twins to report that they have an inherent understanding of their co-twins emotional state. Some report a sensation of “something being wrong” when their twin is in crisis.
The evidence collated thus far through extensive studies demonstrated that there is no scientific proof of twin telepathy and that all the evidence is anecdotal. Scientists believe that twin telepathy is merely a reflection of the loving caring bond between the two (Elsevier, 2017).
I’m not sure many twins would agree with this!!