Pregnancy guide > You > Your pregnancy questions > What are the chances of having twins?

What are the chances of having twins?

If you're expecting we look at your chances of having twins or multiples
What are the chances?

Since the 1980's the incidence of twins and multiples has increased dramatically with the most recent figures suggesting than approximately 150 out of every 10,000 births are multiples with a third of these being identical and two thirds being fraternal.

What's the difference between identical and fraternal twins?

Genetically, fraternal (or dizygotic) twins are only as similar as siblings. This is because they come from two separate eggs that have been fertilised by two separate sperm and simply developed in the same womb at the same time. On the other hand, identical (or monozygotic) twins share the same genetic makeup as they come from a single egg that split during the first few days of the pregnancies development.

What affects the chances of having twins and multiples?

Fertility treatment - The increased advancement and availability of fertility treatments have played an active role in making twin and multiple births more common. This is because many of these treatments either stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs (making it more likely that more than one egg is matured and released during each menstrual cycle) or, as with IVF, two or three eggs are implanted into the womb, again allowing the potential for more babies to develop at the same time.

Age - Age also influences the likelihood of multiple births with 'older Mums' being significantly more likely to conceive twins than those in their twenties. This is thought to be because women's bodies produce increasing amounts of the hormones that stimulate ovulation as they grow older, making it more likely that more than one egg will be released per cycle.

Heredity - Fraternal twins are said to run in families, being passed down genetically on the mother's side. This could potentially be down to a gene for hyper-ovulation that's passed through the generations making it more likely that a woman will release more than one egg during ovulation. Identical twins do not seem to run in families.

Size - Research has suggested that maternal height and weight plays a role in the likelihood of multiple births with taller women and those with a BMI of 30 or more being more likely to have more than one baby.

How will I know if i'm having twins?

As nurturing a multiple pregnancy places more strain on your body, many women report experiencing stronger pregnancy symptoms earlier on, with many having more extreme fatigue and morning sickness. However, others sail through the early weeks without any trouble at all so this is not a definite indicator by any means.

Greater weight gain during the first trimester can also be a sign but again this varies from woman to woman and may simply be due to a miscalculation of due dates rather than a multiple pregnancy.

The only sure way to find out if you're expecting twins or more is by having an ultrasound, so if you're not there yet you could get a big surprise when you have your first scan!

Identical or fraternal, when do you find out?

If you're expecting more than one baby it's natural to want to find out whether they'll be identical or not. However, it's likely that you will have to wait a little while to find out.

If your first scan clearly shows that you are expecting two or more babies that are being nourished by a single placenta it's safe to say that you're carrying identical twins. However, if two placentas can be seen then it's not possible to tell whether your twins will be identical or not.

Later scans may give you more of a clue as identical twins will be the same sex. So, if you are clearly having one boy and one girl then your babies will be just as similar as brother and sister genetically.

Once your babies arrive their DNA can be tested to look for genetic symmetry, but while this is a definite way to find out whether your twins are identical or fraternal it does usually come at a cost. However, as your babies grow and their physical characteristics develop you'll soon be able to figure it out on your own.

Whether you are expecting, twins, multiples or just the one, why not visit the AskBaby forums and share your questions about pregnancy, birth and beyond with other members.

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Well Ladies been for a private scan yesterday an has found out we are having two girls!!! they are not identical!!! they were so cute they were both sucking their thumbs, both twins doing well and looking beautiful!!!! good luck to all you ladies with your pregnancies x
by nadzz 30th Nov 2010, 8:52am
I am just over 12 weeks, i am 20 yrs old and this is my first pregnancy but im already showing... my brother was one of twins but my mum half miscarried during the pregnancy. I have been Very sick so far although it only started when i got to 8 weeks. and im constantly exhausted!
I have my scan next week and im so excited, it would be a dream to find out its twins but i just think myself lucky for having my bump just yet!
Good luck to all the pregnancy's and the new mums out there xxx
by Roo0412 1st Nov 2010, 9:05am
Im in last months and last weeks whit twins . I have a girl Nevvah 2 months and a cute boy Joshua 1 year when i was pregnant whit them i was sickness i dont know what happens . I not now sickness and i know my twins sex boy and girl again so the dad must help me more .
by VanessaAngela 12th Aug 2010, 10:44am
my dad was a twin the say it skips a generation im pregnant now so you never know :) x
by angiebabysexylady 12th Aug 2010, 10:33am
I am 7 wks pregnant and I am already starting to show I am in my twentys and this is my first I dont suffer from any mornin sickness thank god lol but show all the other symptoms of having twins however I dont have twins that run in my family but my previous partner has a twin boy and girl with his ex who has twins that run in her family in not sure if he has twins that run in his side is there a chance that i could be pregnant with twins its just that im too big too soon
by CEEJAY86 12th Aug 2010, 9:48am
i am currently 15 weeks pregnant with twins. i already have 2 little boys who are 2 and 1. when i was pregnant with them i had really bad morning sickness. since i found at that i was pregnant. and its twins, i had no morning sickness. i do know that the twins i am carrying are identical bc they do share a placenta. hopefully in the next couple of days they will be able to tell me the sex of them. girls would be nice
by mommyat23 14th May 2010, 5:11pm
So i am 26 weeks this week and i am way bigger then i am supposed to. my ultrasound at 5 months says one boy,but my belly is telling me something different. i am 5cm bigger then the 6 month mark. and i look like i am ready to pop. i go out and people ask if i am due any day or if i am having twins. i am really excited i want to have twins so does my husband. i need to know what i can do to see if i actually have two! cross your fingers i want two.. but i will be more then thankful if i have one as well. email me with any thoughts i wish to have twins
by MUMMYMARINE 10th Feb 2010, 5:02am
my whole family is convinced i am having twins. I am huge this pregancy compared to my first one and my gma say it skips a generation in my family so i am next in line ( hope that makes sense). SHe says twin boys its always possible
by mackenziemommie 28th Jan 2010, 9:19am
im a identical twin by natural pregnancy and the father is a fraternal twin through ivf,, i would like to no if i have a chance of having twins ive looked online but cant find any answers.
please could someone help thanks alot. amy.
by xxbadamyxx 11th Jan 2010, 3:09pm
how do i kno if i am having twins what are the chances of me having twins i get really bad pains in my belly and i am sick every day and i am pretty big
by MotherK 3rd Dec 2009, 9:35am
I am currently waiting to get my first scan but as i have been feelin increasinly tired and sick already i have been told that i have a high possibility of having twins. my partner is a twin and there is also other twins on his side of the family with twins on both my parents side. do u think i will? this is my first pregnancy.
by fionac22 19th Oct 2009, 10:45am
when i fell pregnant with my twins that i miscarried i was told by a specialist that the fathers side of the family genes have no say to couples expecting twins its actually only the womans side! this was however proven correct when i asked around my family and turns out my gran was a twin and so was her gran ! now my cousins have now had 3 sets of twins so i guess my grandkids are next in line oooh golly :)
by mazzyrose 23rd Sep 2009, 5:25pm
bella2230 You go girl! Would love to have triplets... Did you have any in your family before?
by galushka2000 24th Aug 2009, 9:21am
hi there, Im just curious as to find out the possibilities of heving twins if the mother is one of a twin and the husband is one of a twin aswell?
by cherry78 21st May 2009, 9:16am
Hi, I just found out that I am having triplets. Needless to say, it was quite a shock. I have a due date of December 8 but am not expected to make it until then. I am 42 years old and have a daughter who is 21. This was not a planned pregnancy. I am so excited and scared at the same time. Everyone is healthy so far.
by bella2230 15th May 2009, 9:27am
Hi, I'm almost 12 weeks now and I have a 3 yr old daughter and a 6 month old daughter and just found out that I'm expecting twins!! My first two pregnancies were normal and had some nausia, so this time my symtoms seem to be more intense I had thought it was a boy this time around. In the back of my head I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong and had asked for an early ultrasound to hear the fetal heart beat to confirm that everything was okay. The tecnician wouldn't let me see the screen and only let me hear the heart beat for a few seconds, relieved to hear it I jokingly said "there is only one right?!" and she had answered yes. A few days later I had received a phone call from my doctors office to let me know the results of my ultrasound (which I thought was a little funny since I had only gone to hear the heart beat and not for measurements). She had asked me if any one else had phoned me about the results, and since not she hesitantly said that everything was okay, but my family physician was going to have to refer me to another doctor due to the fact that she is unable to deal with multiples!! My heart had stopped!! Thinking OMG what have I done to my girls, and how is my husband going to take the news? I called him right away and surprisingly he is thrilled with the idea of twins, it's a miricale he said. But when I had announced to him earlier we were pregnant and thinking it was only one he had blurted out "I'm not ready to be a father again!!" Now with the relief of his reaction and the support from my family we are soon going to become a happy family of 6. I had always dreamed of having twins and daughters when I was younger, and now all my dreams are coming true!! =) I could not be any happier !
by devken 5th May 2009, 12:23pm
Hi i am 8 weeks pregnant and have a daughter just 3 so it is my second time. When carrying my daughter I was generally fine no sickness just a little tired, this time I can't get my head out of the toilet I am even unable to keep water down food seems to go in and then quickly out again. I am woundering because I am alot more sick whether it is more than 1. Both my parents are twins and my husbands dad is a twin, my grandad was also a twin (so it didn't miss a generation that time) my couisin (who has my mum and her twin sister as autie's) has had twins so I am hoping that it has missed us out as with already having 1 and knowing how hard it is the thought of twins is a little worrying, but I suppose what will be will be. Try to take out twin insurance but not possible as too high risk.
by Dionne1975 16th Apr 2009, 9:24am
HI, im stacey, im 8+1, or 11wks as it says on here, confusing. Anyways, Ive only put 2 pounds on since i found out at 3 weeks, My stomach(round) has increased to 45" from 38" ive had severe sickness from day 1, sleeping and weeing all the time, mood swings id rather not speak about lol. and my partner has twins on his mothers side, so am i having twins? ill find out on my datingg scan on 21st april. any1 else had these symptoms though and only expecting 1 child? xx
by duckyfuzz 9th Apr 2009, 9:32am
I am 13 weeks pregnant and having my dating scan next tuesday. I'm hoping to have twins and think that it is possible that i might be as there are twins on my mums side of the family. I've had really bad morning sickness, get really tired, bad mood swings and think i felt some movements in the last few weeks. I have also had smelly discharge. This is my first pregnancy, so i don't know if what i'm experiencing is normal?? What do you think?
by FSnewmum 13th Mar 2009, 9:23am
Hi, I am either just over 6 wks or just over 10wks not had my dating scan yet. This is my second pregnancy and my son is now 6 nearly 7 in May. My stomach has already started showing and i feel sick all the time - my real dad was a twin, my cousin had triplets, my partners cousins are twins and my nanna's mum is a twin. Is it likely I could be having twins?
by Rachel104 10th Mar 2009, 8:50am
i am 5 weeks pregnant, already have 4 half yr old girl, and i am 39. My step sisters are identical twins, could i be carrying twins. maria
by greenfields 5th Mar 2009, 9:18am
me and my sister r twins and on my patners side his sister has twins..
i have 4 kids already and think im pregnant again and im feeling different then i was when i was pregnant with my other 4.
im always tired and have so many mood swings over nothing.
i never got this before when i was pregnant with the others... i would have the 2 mood swings but nothing like these ones..
with my other 4 i would eat anything but at the moment i cant eat that much stuff cause it makes me feel sick...
can sameone help me????
by mummy04 2nd Mar 2009, 9:34am
my partner and i have been told at our midwife home call that we are either further on than we think or having twins. we are 10 weeks officially however seem 14-15 waist as increased so much ive gone from 6/8 to wearing maternity 12 which i was concerned in the beginning n went to docs. my partner is a twin n my sisters are twins who have twins.we have been sent for an urgent scan but were so desperate to know how long does an urgent scan take ???
by rw1 23rd Feb 2009, 1:09pm
My dad is a twin and my partners mum is a twin does this give me a higher chance of having twins?
by LissyBear 23rd Feb 2009, 1:08pm
i ad my twins a little boy 3lb 9 and little gilr 3lb 2 in july they shud bin born sept i wouldnt change them for the world when i found out iwas avning twins it was scarey but ilove them 2 bits people say how do u cope but u do its easier aving twins than 1 baby and ye you do cope u build ur own routine like i have
by penniegem1 2nd Feb 2009, 10:49am
Hiya i am 8 weeks pregnant and been experiencing alot of discharge with a strong oddur, also iv been getting lower abdominal pains like very sore period pains, is this normal?
by ashleyin 20th Jan 2009, 9:33am
I've just had IVF and I'm about 5-6 weeks and will find out tomorrow if I'm having one or 2! I would love it to be 2 but don't have any symptoms at all!!!! even had to do a pg test yesterday just to double check I really am pregnant!
by KeeleyJK 5th Jan 2009, 9:30am
My partner is a twin what are the chances of me having twins?
by KCMJ 5th Jan 2009, 9:30am
My partners mother is a triplet and there are twins about 3 generations back on my mothers side, i conceived twins 9 years ago but lost one and went on to give birth full term to my son, i've just discovered i'm 4 weeks pregnant now - i'm hoping for twins... but i think because i want it so bad it's not going to happen.... ;o( xx
by yummymummy77 8th Dec 2008, 8:35am
im a fraternal twin and my partner is a identical twin what are our chances of having twins
by cat2008 1st Dec 2008, 9:28am
Everyone on mom"s family has had twins but my mom.So I hoping for them too.
by dacotarose 5th Nov 2008, 9:11am
M mother was a twin, and there are twins in my husbands family, I am nervous that I may be carrying twins as I have had extreme sickness this time round, I am only 12 weeks and for the past 2 I have felt the first movements, in my abdomen, and I am so tired all the time also, I have gained weight a little quicker this time. Is there a chance I could be carrying twins help???
by emdary062924 29th Sep 2008, 9:15am
hi i'm 9weeks pregnant and been noticing a bit of smelly discharge.every now and then.and i also have really strong pain in my lower abdomen like period pains. i'm really nervous and worried that something might be wrong. please could you give me some advice advice. Leanne
by lozzkn 23rd Sep 2008, 8:54am
help i have twins on both sides of my family and my partner also has twins in his family i am also an older mum 45yrs and have a bmi of more than 30 does that mean i have an increased likelyhood of having twins also there is triplets further back in my family argh
by Huxigirl 26th Aug 2008, 10:00am
hi,i'm 5weeks pregnant and been noticing a bit of smelly discharge.evry now and then.and i also have really strong pain in my lower abdomen like period pains.i'm really nervous and worried that something might be wrong.please advice
by aisha22 16th Jun 2008, 2:21pm
i av four sets of twins just on my side of the family does that mean i could have twins?
by chelsea17 10th Jun 2008, 8:42am