Double the trouble, double the fun! Twins have always been a fascinating subject, and for good reason. From identical DNA to different due dates, twins are full of surprises. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about twins that you may not have known before.
1. Identical twins have identical DNA
Identical twins are formed when a single egg is fertilized by a single sperm, and then the embryo splits into two. Because they come from the same fertilized egg, identical twins have identical DNA. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, come from two separate eggs fertilized by two separate sperm, so they don’t share the same DNA.
2. Identical twins may have very similar fingerprints
While identical twins have nearly identical DNA, their fingerprints can still vary slightly due to environmental factors during their development in the womb. The pressure on their fingers, the position of their fingers, and their individual movements can all affect the patterns that form on their fingertips, resulting in similar but not identical fingerprints. This is why fingerprints are still considered a unique form of identification even for identical twins.
3. Twins can have different fathers
It may sound like a bizarre idea, but it is actually possible for twins to have different fathers. This rare occurrence, known as heteropaternal superfecundation, happens when a woman has sex with two different men within a few days of each other and releases two eggs that are fertilized by each man’s sperm.
4. The likelihood of having twins increases with age
As women get older, their chances of having twins increase. This is because as women age, their bodies produce higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which can cause the ovaries to release more than one egg during ovulation.
5. Twins can have different due dates
Even though twins are typically born on the same day, they can have different due dates. This is because each twin grows at its own rate, and their due dates are based on their individual growth patterns.
6. Twins can communicate with each other in the womb
Twins can interact with each other in the womb, and there is some evidence to suggest that they may even communicate with each other. Some studies have shown that twins can develop their own language, known as twin talk or cryptophasia, which only they understand.
7. The rate of twin births varies by country
The rate of twin births varies by country, with some countries having a higher rate than others. For example, the rate of twin births in the United States is around 3%, while the rate in Nigeria is over 15%.
8. Twins can have different amniotic sacs and placentas
In some cases, twins can have their own individual amniotic sacs and placentas, which is known as dichorionic-diamniotic twins. In other cases, they may share an amniotic sac but have their own placenta, which is called monochorionic-diamniotic twins. These differences in the arrangement of the sacs and placenta can affect the pregnancy and birth.
9. Twins may develop differently in the womb
Twins may develop differently in the womb, with one twin potentially growing faster than the other. This can lead to a condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), in which one twin receives too much blood from the placenta while the other receives too little. TTTS is a rare but serious complication that requires close monitoring during pregnancy.
10. Twins can be born via different delivery methods
Twins can be born via vaginal delivery, caesarean section, or a combination of the two. The delivery method will depend on various factors, such as the position of the babies, the size of the mother’s pelvis, and the progress of labor.
11. Twins can be born days or even weeks apart
In some cases, twins may be born days or even weeks apart from each other. This can happen if labor starts prematurely for one twin, but not the other. While it is rare, the second twin may also have a slightly higher risk of complications due to being born later.
12. Twins can be conceived at different times
While rare, it is possible for twins to be conceived at different times. This is known as superfetation and occurs when a woman ovulates and becomes pregnant while she is already pregnant with another baby. While it is a rare occurrence, it has been reported in several cases.
13. Twins may have their own language
Twins may develop their own language, known as twin language or idioglossia. This language is usually made up of words and phrases that only the twins can understand. While it is not a formal language, it is a way for twins to communicate with each other and can be quite remarkable to witness.
14. Twins are more likely to be left-handed
Studies have shown that twins may have a higher chance of being left-handed than singletons. While the reasons for this are not fully understood, some experts believe that it may be due to differences in brain development in the womb.
15. Twins may have a lower risk of certain diseases
Research has shown that twins may have a lower risk of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. While the reasons for this are not fully understood, some experts believe that it may be due to a genetic protective factor.