Figuring out twins means double the diapers, double the laundry and definitely double the coffee.
Twins tend to leave people in awe. It’s hard for parents of twins to go out in public without being stopped by strangers, smiled at or stared at (usually for the right reasons). People always have a million questions for Twin Moms when it comes to their pregnancy, their daily schedule and how the heck they make it through their day. Usually parents of twins have just as many questions because the unexpected is more than likely to occur when they have two little bodies to feed, change and chase around.
Though it’s universally known that twins are same-aged siblings born together, many people do not know how truly unique twins (or multiples) are. Twins are much more than just two siblings who share a birthday (most of the time) and sometimes share similar physical traits. They grew side-by-side together for close to nine months before entering the world as a pair. That in itself makes for one heck of a life – for the twins and the parents, of course.
Bringing up twins means discovering something new about them every single day that often leaves the parents in shock. This also means Twin Moms learn something new about themselves every single day when it comes to their personal parenting style, their patience and the amount of coffee they need to brew for the next day.
Fun fact: According to HuffingtonPost: Back in 2009, a Texas woman wasn't planning on becoming famous for having two baby daddies for her twins, but this actually happened. She happened to be intimate with two men within a five-day window, and voila, magic happened.
15 Twins Do Not Always Share The Same Birthday
Many people expect twins to have the same birthday – as well as the same everything else. Even though many moms decide to go the c-section route when delivering multiples, some choose to wait and go into labor. A woman cannot control when she goes into labor and if those twins are ready to come out and it is close to midnight, it is possible that one may be born on one day and the other on the next. This also can occur when it comes to multiples being born in different years – if one twin is born on the last day of the year, the other may be born minutes apart, but in the following year.
Delayed interval births are rare occurrences but are incidents that do happen. According to Very Well Family, “delayed interval birth takes place when one multiple is delivered prematurely, but doctors are able to halt labor and keep the remaining multiple(s) in their mother's womb to grow and develop.” Sometimes parents do not like the idea of one twin being taken away from the other when there still is time left in the pregnancy. However, with today’s medicine being at a much higher level than in the past, if one twin desperately needs outside medical support, it is critical this occur for the health of Mom and baby.
14 Identical Twins May Have Their Own Unique Fingerprint
When people think about identical twins, they think that absolutely everything about them is identical. Same hair, same eyes, same personalities, same fingerprints, same schedules. Being that identical twins came from the same fertilized egg, it is true that they have the same DNA and genetic makeup. Even though identical twins are, well, identical in most ways, they do not share the same fingerprint.
The New York Times states that “genetics helps determine the general patterns on the fingertip, which appear as arches, loops and whorls. An individual finger can have just one of these patterns or a mixture of them.” During development, the textures that create a fingerprint are impacts by womb pressures, amniotic fluid and bone growth – all leading the unique fingerprints amongst twins.
In a world where no one wants to be the same as the person next to them, it is great that identical twins still can be very unique individuals.
13 Twins Can Have Very Different Physical Features
Twins do not always look alike – plain and simple, that is the truth. Twins sometimes have a reputation for being the same in absolutely every way possible and though many identical twins share similar traits, fraternal twins often do not. Fraternal twins are twins that are just as similar as any two siblings, but they shared a womb during pregnancy and they share a birthday (most of the time).
Since not every sibling is similar in every way, the same goes for twins.
One twin can have dark hair while the other has light. One twin may have light eyes while the other has dark. One may be slender and tall while the other may be more compact and short. This could go on and on and on and still many people will stop parents, look at their children and still not believe that their children are twins.
Well, believe it or not, twins are twins - even if their skin tone and eye color is dramatically different.
12 There Are Many Different Types of Twins
When people think twins, they automatically assume there are two types: fraternal and identical. Though that is true, it actually goes much deeper than just two types when looking at the overall picture from a medical point-of-view. There can sometimes be confusion amongst medical professions when it comes to exactly if there are two types or four types of twins – since some doctors will mesh two of the types into one category.
To bring clarity to an already complicated scenario, here are the technical types: monoamniotic monochorionic, diamniotic dichorionic (fused), diamniotic monochorionic and diamniotic dichorionic (separate). Many doctors also will see these terms and put them into three categories: monozygotic, dizygotic and polar body twins.
According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, Polar body twins occur when one egg is fertilized by two completely sperm, resulting in twins that are known as “half-identical.” Monozygotic twins (or identical twins) occur when there is one egg and one sperm and dizygotic twins (fraternal) occur when there are two different eggs being fertilized by two separate sperm. All dizygotic twins have separate amniotic sacs and placentas – thought sometimes, the placentas may attach.
11 Having Twins Isn’t Always Genetic
People have many different beliefs when it comes to whether or not there is a genetic link behind having twins. Many people go right to the thought that it is fully a maternal trait while others may believe that if there are twins in the family, your family will automatically also have twins. Another popular assumption is that if one parent is a twin and they end up having twins themselves that the twin parent must be the reason.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Genetics Home Reference team states that “it is probably affected by multiple genetic and environmental factors” depending on whether the twins are dizygotic and monozygotic. If a woman is released more than one egg during ovulation, they are at a higher risk of having dizygotic, or fraternal, twins. This is often the only known genetic link researchers have come to fine, but they still remain skeptical when it comes to the genetics aspect of twins. Identical twins, however, occur completely at random when the egg splits earlier than usual after fertilization.
10 Twins Can Be Conceived On Different Days
During a twin pregnancy, sometimes Baby A may be slightly larger than Baby B (or vise versa). Though this may be due to the baby’s unique growth pattern, it also can be due to having different conception days. This can only be the case with fraternal twins because there must be two eggs in the picture for two completely different sperm to be involved.
Whew – twins can be ridiculously complicated.
If a woman drops numerous eggs during ovulation and has sex with numerous partners during that time span, there is a possibility that she conceived with one person on one day and with someone else on another. This often doesn’t mean the babies will have any health issues, just that their sizes may be a little off. However, they genetically will be half-siblings born at the same time.
9 Baby A and Baby B: The First Names
From the moment a woman becomes pregnant with twins, the doctors must specify each baby with some kind of name. You would think they would throw around some high-tech, complicated terms when it comes to names (since twins really are complicated, to say the least). However, they keep it simple: Baby A and Baby B.
So, how do they decide who-is-who? Baby A is often the baby closest to the cervix and is the one who will be delivered first, but in rare cases it can switch. After the babies are born, Twin Moms always know who was Baby A and who was Baby B. It is kind of seen as the first nicknames twins receive, even if those names are never brought up after delivery. However, some parents like to joke around by calling Baby A the ‘first-born’ and when twins get older, they sometimes like to kid (or argue) with one another about who is technically older.
8 Twins Sometimes Speak Their Own Language
All babies go through a babbling stage where they love listening to themselves make noises – and typically only stop when they want to. Just like any singleton baby, twins also go through this developmental stage, but some professionals believe they may have languages only the two of them can understand. In truth, this kind of “secret language” is not rare and is known as an autonomous language. “Autonomous languages exist in 40% of all twins, but often disappear soon,” according to the National Institutes of Health.
These languages usually play off adult words and sounds that are heard in a household. However, if twins grow up in a household where the adults do not often communicate or work on language skills with their children, autonomous languages may not happen. Though many people think these kinds of languages only occur with identical twins, fraternal twins and even siblings close in age can create languages that may seem “secret” to all who overhear them.
7 Identical Twins Don’t Always Act Alike
Even though identical twins are genetic blueprints of one another, they still are their own human being growing up in a world where environmental factors come into play. Many parents encourage their twins to try different activities and hobbies and even though identical twins share the same DNA, one may decide to play sports while the other may decide to turn to music. Many families find it critical to keep twins options very open so they can become their own individuals and not simply be seen as “so-and-sos twin.”
As identical twins grow, they often want to be seen as a separate, unique individual from their twin – even if they are incredibly close to them (as many identical twins tend to be). Since this drive exists, twins will explore different interests and activities which will provide them with diverse experiences. These experiences, even starting in childhood, sculpt their personalities and actions.
6 Twins Can Be Delivered Without Needing NICU Time
When a new mom is told she is having twins, one major thought that runs through their head during the pregnancy is whether or not her babies will need NICU time. No mom wants to picture their little one laying under bright lights with tubes helping them breathe. Though it is incredibly common for twins to be born prematurely, it is also very common for them to make it to full term (which is 37 weeks for Twin Moms).
If a woman listens to her doctors, and listens to how her body is reacting to the pregnancy, she often will not have any issues getting to full term. Many moms from earlier generations went 40 weeks or further with twins before medical professionals decided to set a limit, of sorts. Many twins are born at typical birth weights and according to the National Organizations of Mothers of Twins Clubs, only 11.4% of twins were considered very preterm in a 2009 study.
5 C-Sections Aren’t Always Necessary For Twin Pregnancies
Many people are quick to assume that because a woman is pregnant with twins, she will need a c-section. Many women go this route out of fear that after Baby A is pushed out, Baby B will turn breech – resulting in a c-section strictly for Baby B. This is a very real fear and something that does occur.
However, vaginal deliveries for twins are more common than many think and often go as planned.
The American College of Gynecologic and Obstetric Service states that “findings call for planned vaginal rather than cesarean delivery between 32 and 37 weeks of gestation and strongly support recent American College Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendations.” Most doctors support women delivering vaginally unless there are health complications such as a baby being breech, cholestasis, hypertension or preeclampsia.
4 Fraternal Twins Sometimes Get A Bad Rep
It’s unfortunate that some people see fraternal twins as not being “real” twins because they do not always have the obvious similarities that identical twins have. Fraternal twins are genetically just as different as any other sibling, but the fact that they shared a womb together for eight-to-nine months makes them just as much twins as identical twins.
Along with parents having to do double the laundry, double the feeding and double the soothing.
Fraternal twins often have a strong bond with one another as they grow up because they were each other’s best friend since, well, before birth. They grow up eating together, playing together and learning together and more times than not, they enjoy all that time spent with one another. Still, when Twin Moms hear comments like “well, they don’t look alike – so they aren’t really twins” or “my kids are close in age, so it’s almost the same thing” they want to burst at the seams.
And don’t mess with a mad Twin Mama.
3 Moms Often Know Who-Is-Who In The Womb
Most pregnant women enjoy feeling their little one roll around inside of them. Even though the little jabs and kicks may bring forth a little pain, especially during that dreaded third trimester, just knowing there is a small, active human inside of you is a feeling like no other.
The same goes for mamas of twins and more times than not, they know exactly who is kicking who. The babies are usually either side-by-side or top-and-bottom. This setup usually doesn’t change much as the pregnancy moves forward and if it does, it is still pretty close to the original up until delivery. That being the case, once Mom is told where Baby A is and where Baby B is in regards to her body, she will know who is on what side. She is able to feel them each make separate movements and can also feel them separately if one is more active than the other. It also becomes obvious who has the hiccups – and sometimes it can be both babies at once.
2 Twins Can Have Very Different Body Types
If twins are fraternal, they can be just as different as any other sibling in the family. This means they can have different eye color, different hair color, different personalities and, oddly enough, even different body types. While one twin may be tall and slender, the other could be short and stout. One may have a long torso while the other may have longer legs.
Even though identical twins are DNA matches, they too can end up with different body types if they do not lead a healthy lifestyle. This goes for anyone if they do not keep their own personal well-being in check. One identical twin may be health-conscience while the other, even though they still have the same genetic makeup, may not lead a healthy lifestyle and could end up piling on some additional pounds. Biology is obviously a huge part of the twin formula, but environmental factors also play a part.
1 Having Twins Doesn’t Always Mean Chaos - Well, Sort Of
When a family finds out they are expecting twins, they immediately think the worst. They think thoughts such as “we’re in for it” or “we are never going to sleep again.” Even though having two babies at once can be quite a chaotic experience, it is also an incredibly rewarding one. It becomes a time when every crazy moment is cherished and learned from.
And whether you believe it or not, twins do not always mean “no sleep” and “no set schedule."
It is very possible for infant twins to be put on the same sleep schedule, feeding schedule, play schedule and nap schedule. It is also very possible for twins to sleep in their own separate cribs from day one. If the parents work together and keep to a strict schedule, the babies will become conditioned to the schedule and their environment. They will slowly shift into routine and make it possible for parents to sleep through the night and get some things done during the day.
Of course, this isn’t without a little chaos thrown into the mix. Isn’t that what being a parent of twins is all about?
References: Everyday Health, Health.com, Mayo Clinic, Very Well Family, BabyMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine/Genetics Home Reference, U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, National Organizations of Mothers of Twins Clubs, The American College of Gynecologic and Obstetric, today.com