If you thought that twins drain nutrients, energy and life out of their moms thus sending them to an early grave, you are not alone. This is the same assumption a team of Utah researchers had when they used the Utah Population Database to compare the moms of twins with the moms of singletons, looking for differences in life span, number of kids, the time between pregnancies and length of fertility; all measures of health. The findings astounded them.
How adorable are these bunnies? Image source: Pixabay
Since the study wanted to focus on natural fertility instead of today’s IVF world, the team pulled the family records of women born between 1807 and 1899 (way before reproductive technology & reliable birth control) who lived to at least 50 years so as to experience their full range of reproductive years. To ensure that similar women were compared, widows and wives in polygamous families were excluded. 4,603 of the 58,786 women studied had at least one set of twins.
The study revealed that moms to twins beat moms to singletons on every measure. They lived longer, had longer reproductive life spans, needed less time to recover between pregnancies, and had more children overall. The mothers of twins born before 1870 had on average 1.9 more children than mothers of singletons in their age group, and the mothers in the post 1870 group each had 2.3 children more than their singleton mother counterparts.
When the team adjusted the finding by infant mortality which is higher in twins than in singletons, and considering that moms of twins would have other kids faster after a child’s death, moms with twins were still on the lead with 1.24 to 1.56 more kids that singleton mothers. This still exceeds the +1 effect you get when a mom has twins.
These findings suggest that twin mothers are physically stronger in the first place and rather than being a reproductive accident that saps a woman’s energy, strength and nutrients, twins could actually be natures evolutionary adoption in which healthy mothers take a chance to pass on double their superior genes at once. Until we see each other again,