Seeing Double: More Women Having Twins

January 5, 2012  |  

Twins used to be a cute, rare sighting but now 1 in ever 30 babies born in the U.S. is a twin, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. In 1980, that number was 1 in 53.

The increase isn’t exactly uniform. On average, black women have more twins, but now white women have caught up. Over the last three decades, the rates of twins have doubled for white women, rose by half for black mothers, and by about a third for Hispanic women.

So why the increase? One explanation is more women are waiting til their 30s to have babies. For some unknown reason, mothers in their 30s are more likely to have twins than younger or older women, an authors of the report have attributed as much as a third of the increase in twins to this fact.

A more obvious reason is the increased use of fertility drugs and treatments. When you couple that with the older age of most new mothers, the twin increase makes sense. This is also why the rate of twins among white women has caught up to that of black mothers.

While some women may view having twins as a blessing, experts say the trend is worrisome, as multiple births are dangerous to mothers and their babies. Children are often smaller, weaker, and require more care, plus the mother is usually already over the age of 40.

Have you noticed an increase in twin births around you?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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