Seeing Double: Doctors discuss reasons for rising number of twin births
Scottie and Cayti Hart at twins' birth.
The Hart twins. (Source: Family)
The Hemness twins. (Source: Taylor and Katie Hemness)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The Centers for Disease Control says that in 1980, about one in every 50 babies born was a twin. Now, it's up to one out of every 30. And it all has to do with when people are choosing to have kids, and how much help they have to get them.
Scottie Hart was the last person in the room to know that his wife Cayti was carrying twins...little Sophie and Olivia.
"I was looking at the monitor, and the doctor was laughing, and the sonogram tech was laughing, and she was laughing and crying at the same time, and that's when I started to realize something was not right, because I didn't know what I was looking at," Scottie said, remembering the day the couple found out they were carrying twins.
But he does remember, better than Cayti, exactly how many people were in the room to greet them.
"They had set up an operating room for me, in case I needed to have a C-section," Cayti said. "We had a whole team of doctors and nurses."
"We had the main doctor, who was doing the delivery; we had a separate heart specialist, who was monitoring the second baby's heartbeat, then we had a birthing coach, who was also a doctor," Scottie said. "And then I'm standing in this little hole next to her, and then three regular nurses for the delivery, and then per baby, we had three NICU nurses, set up with two stations."
Dr. Adam Newman, an OB-GYN at ETMC Jacksonville, says delivery in the operating room is pretty much standard procedure for twins.
"I deliver all my sets of twins in the OR," Newman said. "Simply because if something goes on, I don't want to take even the minute and a half it takes to go from the delivery room to the operating room. I want to be there, simply because things can happen quickly."
That's because, Newman says, twin pregnancies are still considered "at-risk" pregnancies.
"Twins are adorable when they're out, and you have two newborns, and they hug up to each other; it's adorable, and it melts your heart," Newman said. "But up until then, it's a nervous pregnancy."
It's the same thing the doctor told Katie Hemness, wife of KLTV 7 anchor Taylor Hemness, when they found out that they had two little miracles on the way.
"I don't consider myself high-risk, there's just more happening," Katie Hemness said.
But, the Hemness' doctor told them the risk is reduced some, because there were no fertility medications involved.
"Since they were naturally conceived that way, my body said, 'I can handle this, instead of the medicines making it handle it,'" Hemness said.
Experts say that those fertility medications are one of the two biggest factors in the increased number of twins over the last three decades. The other? The age of the mom.
Dr. Daren Yeager, an OB-GYN at Trinity Mother Frances, says the common denominator is that, just like marriage, people are delaying child bearing for the sake of their careers.
Yeager also says that so called "natural" twins are more likely once women reach a certain age.
"When you're over 40, your body increases the risk of follical stimulating hormone," Yeager said. "And that's what stimulates your ovary to release an egg. So as you get older, that hormone goes up."
Dr. Newman agreed, and told us that women who try to get pregnant when they're older are also more likely to use fertility medication, which ups the chances of twins.
"The infertility treatments have gotten better and better, and more prevalent," Newman said. "So the biggest increase we see in twinning, is non-identical twinning, and that's as a result of the infertility treatments."
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, mothers trying to get pregnant in the late 1990s had just over 20 percent chance of being implanted with only two embryos. They were much more likely to be implanted with four or more. But now, women have a much higher chance, more than 50 percent, of being implanted with only two.
"They're really putting in, for lack of a better term, the best of the best; [the] most likely to implant," Newman said. "And they've gotten better at determining that."
Some doctors are offering a procedure called minimal stimulation, or mini-IVF, where less medication is used to get a lower number of those "good eggs." It can be much less expensive than traditional In Vitro, and has proven results.
But Scottie and Cayti say, even with all those twins out there, people still love to see double.
"I don't mind it, I really don't," Cayti said. "It just takes planning, because you go to the grocery store, and you'll probably get stopped three or four times, so it'll take a little longer to get out. And I do feel like I see more, and hear about more twins."
That's something Katie Hemness says is a comfort, because of the support system automatically in place.
"There's more understanding moms out there, who will be like, 'It's gonna be ok, I promise,'" Hemness said. "Regardless, it's still a novelty for us, that there's two coming at once."
Dr. Newman also told us that the number of identical twins is pretty consistent all around the world. But the number of fraternal twins, the type that has seen the biggest rate jump over the last 30 years, varies greatly depending on the region of the world. Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.