Birth of twins: Devil's will or double joy?

The birth of twins is always an outstanding event. In old times it was seen as the "devil's will." For modern parents the birth of two children is a double joy. There are numerous twin-related myths concerning their health, character, and behavior. Are these myths backed up by studies of physicians and psychologists?

Myth 1. The birth of twins has a genetic cause, and usually they are born every other generation.

It is true that there is a genetic predisposition for the birth of twins. In some families twins are born only once, and this phenomenon never repeats. Sometimes twins are born in subsequent generations. Usually it happens with fraternal twins. Repeated births of identical twins are rare.

Myth 2. Twins have the same set of genes and chromosomes.

If we are talking about dizygotic (fraternal) twins, their genes are no more similar than those of ordinary siblings. Yet, monozygotic (identical) twins do have identical genetic code. However, they still have different fingerprints.

Myth 3. Twins are always born prematurely.

Not necessarily. Yes, the likelihood of preterm birth in twin gestation is slightly higher. But many mothers pregnant with twins give birth in due time, at 40 weeks. According to skilled midwives, a normal term for carrying twins is 37 weeks.

Myth 4. Twins are born only by Caesarean section.

The probability of a cesarean birth in case of twins is not higher than in case of birth of one child. Now, if we are talking about three or more children, there is an increased risk. A woman is fully capable to give birth to two children.

Myth 5. Monozygotic twins are undistinguishable.

If you know them closer, you can catch the difference. For example, one can have a mole, while the other does not. They may have different facial expressions, manner of speaking, smiles, their voices may differ.

Myth 6. Twins are usually different in character. For example, one is quiet and the other one is lively.

Not necessarily. They can differ no more than ordinary siblings. Another thing is that often twins do not want to be like each other and tend to express their individuality more prominently.

Myth 7. Usually, the elder of the twins (the one that was born first) is the leader, and the younger one is a follower.

It all depends on parental education. If twins are constantly told that one of them is older, they often begin to behave accordingly. Sometimes seniority is impossible to determine. But by and large a few minutes that pass between the births of twins do not really decide anything.

Myth 8. Twins are better off when they are not together in school.

Many parents try placing their twins in different classes, or insist that they do not sit next to each other in school. Yet, this is done for the sake of convenience of the adults so that teachers do not confuse these children. In fact, if twins do everything together since the day they are born, separating them can cause a lot of stress.

Child psychologists agree that the first twins should be placed in one class. Later, when they learn independence, they can choose their paths.

Myth 9. Identical twins suffer from the same diseases.

In many respects this is true, since monozygotic twins have similar genotype. But their health also depends on lifestyle, environmental and other factors.

Myth 10. Twins have the ability to "feel' each other at a distance.

In principle, close people often "feel" each other. These may be, for example, parents and children, husbands and wives, or siblings. Perhaps, twins who spend much time together have a deeper sensitivity. One twin may feel at a distance what happens to another twin (for example, misfortune, injury, or a serious illness). Twins can sometimes easily read each other's thoughts, but this is not surprising: they often think in similar ways. Yet, the same is true for people who know each other well and have been living together. If twins are separated at birth, then this effect will not be observed.

Daria Lyubimskaya

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov