Apr 7 2014
I was searching for an article to blog about for quite some time now, but the one that caught my eye was about twins and where they appear globally. I’ve always found twins intriguing and wanted some of my own in the future, so learning more about twins felt right.
According to the article I stumbled upon, Central Africa has the highest twin birthrate record meanwhile, Asia and Latin America has the lowest. In Central Africa, about 28 out of 1,000 births are twins and in Asia and Latin America, about 8 out of 1,000 births are twins. The reasons for these differences in twin birthrates are still a mystery, but recent studies have found that there linked factors.
One of the key factors linked with fraternal twins is the age of the mother. As the mother’s age increases, the possibility of giving birth to twins does as well. But once the mother hits the age of 38, the possibility of twins decreases. Another factor linked with fraternal twins is the mother’s height. The taller the mother is, the more the chance of giving birth to fraternal twins. This is because being taller means being strong enough to take care of twins. Other minor factors that play a role are cigarette smoking, contraceptive use and number of pregnancies prior. It is also found that there seems to be a hereditary component to fraternal twins that runs through the female line.
Aside from learning about why some countries have more twins, I also learned about some fascinating facts about twins. Apparently having two babies at the same time, results in a longer life for the mother. This is because the mother is physically stronger to begin with and they have an insulin-like growth factor that is linked to twins. Another interesting fact is that although twins have the same genes, their fingerprints are not the same. This is because fingerprints are determined by the different stresses experienced in the womb. Even something as slight as different umbilical cord lengths can change fingerprints.
Lastly, the most interesting to me is that twins start interacting with each other even at 14 weeks gestation. They’ve been seen to interact by one fetus caressing the back or the head of the co-twin; the twins are never really alone. The result of this early interaction wires the twins to be social from the beginning. There are so many interesting facts about twins that are still being discovered. There is no particular reason why I am drawn to the idea of twins, but they are just too interesting to not research.