There is information floating around about natural remedies and fertility foods that can help women conceive multiples. Unfortunately, for now, this is a myth. Some things that are mentioned are yams, Cassava root, walnuts, whole grains, eggs, milk, and various other natural substances. There are great herbal preparations to help improve fertility, but none that help with conception of multiples. Most natural remedies indeed have a variety of health benefits but, as of now, there is no evidence of inducing a multiple pregnancy.
There is a study out there by Dr. Gary Steinman of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York City. He theorized that women who consume milk may have an advantage increasing their probability of conceiving multiples. He studied the effects of consuming milk on vegans (consume no animal products), vegetarians (consume no meat but do consume dairy products), and omnivores (consume meat and dairy products). The rate of conceiving twins for vegans, who consumed no dairy products, was one fifth that of vegetarians and omnivores. The thought is that those women who consumed milk were exposed to insulin-like growth factor (IGF) in areas where cattle were given this hormone. It appears that this study has not been replicated and thus is inconclusive. It is important to research all of the information that is out there to avoid false hopes and to assure your safety.
Intentionally Conceiving Multiples
There are various medical forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that have produced multiples (whether intentionally or not). These include in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Although a great thought, they are not recommended as a form of conceiving multiples and come with risks, plus there is still no guarantee of success. These options should be reserved for those with infertility that need the assistance of these procedures to have a child of their own.
Until we have verified safe and effective ways to improve chances of multiples, it is important to consult your provider before using any kind of supplements. In the meantime, a benefit of the research on conceiving multiples is confirmation of the advice regarding healthy habits. This includes eating a healthy balanced diet, adequate hydration, regular exercise, folic acid, and finding ways to relieve stress. These are essential to preparing your body for a wonderful pregnancy and healthy baby. Until there is adequate evidence-based knowledge regarding the various theories on how to increase the chances of multiple gestations, it would be better to expend energy on what we know is effective.
- Steinman, Gary. (2006). Mechanisms of twinning: VII. Effect of diet and heredity on the human twinning rate. The Journal of reproductive medicine. 51. 405-10. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7003773_Mechanisms_of_twinning_VII_Effect_of_diet_and_heredity_on_the_human_twinning_rate