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Three Questions for Parents of Twins


“Are they identical?” “Do twins run in your family?” and the (somewhat rude) “Were they natural?” are common questions parents of twins receive.  Beyond these curious questions, here are three more facts about multiples.


Parents of twins are used to fielding three questions:  “Are they identical?” “Do twins run in your family?” and the (somewhat rude) “Were they natural?.”  Beyond those here are 3 medical based questions and answers you may have been wondering about twins:

What are Mirror Twins?
About 23% of identical twins are mirror twins which means that one egg has split into two between days 8 and 12 of fertilization. This is considered “late” in the splitting process. If an egg splits after day 12, the egg runs the risk of not fully splitting, resulting in conjoined twins.   

While there is no medical test that identifies this type of twinning, the mirror aspect can usually be observed as the children grow.  Being left and right handed or having opposite personalities (being “right” and “left” brained) are the usual marks of mirror twins.  Facial features such as a cowlick in the hairline on opposite sides will present on opposite sides of the mirror twins as well.

Do Twins have the Same Fingerprints?
No.  The small ridges on our hands and feet develop in the womb and while twins’ ridges are the same when they first appear in utero, factors such as hand movements during development and pressure on the hands while in the womb will change the ultimate development of each fingerprint.

Why do I see so many twins these days?
Most people assume the increased use of fertility procedures is the reason there are more multiples than ever have been before.  This is true but is only one reason.  Another contributing factor to the rise in multiple births is that mothers are becoming pregnant later than historically typical.  The thought is often that “older” mothers are over 40 but in fact, starting around age 30, women often produce more than one egg per menstrual cycle.  This allows for a greater chance of fraternal twin birth.


Overnight newborn care might be our favorite way to help parents of multiples but there are many other resources. Check out our article in What to Expect or our Pinterest Board sharing practical and necessary tips and tricks for parents of twins and triplets.  

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