How Does Giving Birth to Twins Affect A Mother’s Health?

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Compared with other mothers, women who deliver twins live longer, have more children than expected, bear babies at shorter intervals over a longer time, and are older at their last birth, according to researchers at the University of Utah.

The findings do not mean having twins is healthy for women, but instead that healthier women have an increased chance of delivering twins, the researchers clarified. “Having twins will not make you stronger or healthier, but stronger, healthier women are more likely to have twins naturally,” said Shannen Robson, study author and a recent Ph.D. graduate in anthropology at the University of Utah, in a press release. “The prevailing view is that the burden of childbearing on women is heavier when bearing twins. But we found the opposite: women who naturally bear twins in fact live longer and are actually more fertile,” Robson added.

The study examined the medical data of over 50,000 Utah women using a population database.  While bearing twins appears to be a marker of innate healthiness in women, there are many other factors that also affect longevity and aging, researchers said. The study, however, only looked at women who lived past menopause and not those who died earlier, such as during childbirth.  Doctors do know that carrying twins does have an increased risk of complications during birth, which can compromise health. The study also does not look at women who deliver multiple babies through fertility treatments, and researchers are as-of-yet uncertain as to how that may affect health, if at all. The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.