PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time is a precious moment.
But, for more and more parents, that moment is coming with a bit of shock.
There has been a major jump in the number of twins being born here in the United States and one of the reasons why may surprise you.
Life in the Murphy household can get hectic. With 6-year-old twins and a 2-year-old, there is never a dull moment.
Jamie found out she was pregnant with fraternal twins Jake and Mackenzie just before she turned 29.
There are no twins in her family history and she didn’t use any fertility drugs.
So, hearing the news during a sonogram was quite a shock.
“The sonographer said, ‘Well, here is baby one and baby two,’ and I just started balling and she said, ‘Is everything okay?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I didn’t know I was having twins,’” Jamie said.
Bringing the babies home meant double diapers, feedings, and non-stop action.
“You just don’t expect having twins right out of the gate and just, I mean, I don’t know if you expect to have them at any point. So, it was shocking for a while, a lot of excitement,” Jamie said.
That same year, it appears a lot of families shared that same joy.
In the Shaler School District alone, there are 10 sets of twins in the same kindergarten class, including Jake and Mackenzie.
So, why all these twins lately?
Forbes Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Rubino said there are two main reasons.
Yes, there’s been an increase in the use of fertility drugs and procedures like in vitro fertilization.
However, the second reason has to do with age. As it turns out, the older a women gets, the higher her chances are of having twins naturally.
Because more women are having kids later in life we’re seeing more and more sets of twins.
“Every cycle, one egg matures and kind of suppresses the others. When you get a little older, the eggs aren’t as efficient, so that one doesn’t want to be the dominant follicle, we call it and you may get a couple of eggs mature,” Dr. Rubino said. “If you make two eggs, there is a greater likelihood that those two eggs would get fertilized.”
In fact, there has been a 35 percent increase in twins over the past 30 years.
“To put that into perspective, in 1980 about 1.9 percent of births were twins, which means that would be about 1 in 55 births. Now its 3.3 percent, meaning about 1 out of 30 births,” Dr. Rubino said.
Dr. Rubino said he expects the twin trend to continue. It’s something the Murphy family has found to be a challenge, but an even bigger blessing.
“Anyone who is offering you help, any family members that says, ‘I’ll come over and do your laundry, I’ll cook for you, I’ll watch the kids while you sleep or shower, maybe you could have a nice night out,’ say yes, don’t say no to any help,” Jamie said.