Five factors Twin Risk FactorsHaving a brand new baby is hard. Period.

Those first days and weeks--okay let's face it, months and years--leave us with more than enough to to do.

And yet, during the seemingly endless waiting game that is pregnancy, how many of us have found ourselves fixated on the thought of having not one, but two, little ones on the way?

Maybe it's the novelty of it. After all, even though the number of twins born in the US is significant, (the most recent CDC reports that 32.6 of every 1,000 births result in twins), it still remains a relatively uncommon occurrence.

Related: Two Pairs and a Trio: Breastfeeding Twins

Or maybe it's the irresistible thought of your little one being born with a built-in best friend?

(Surely it's nothing to do with finding an excuse to need that wicked-cool double jogging stroller...)

But is having twins something you should wish on yourself?

The jury is still out. Moms of twins say that is both the hardest AND the most rewarding thing they have ever experienced as a parent.

"I would never wish the lack of sleep I experienced as a new mom with twins on anyone. It was doubly hard because my husband and I were not living together because of our jobs. So it fell completely on me to do the night feedings. I felt like I was never going to survive," said one mom and Army soldier. She is also married to another soldier.

But many twin parents say that as their children get older, things get easier and more fun.

"Having twins is fun. We enjoy dressing them up in the same clothes and they do have a built in best friend in each other- even though most of the time I feel like I'm breaking up fights," says another twin mom, whose fraternal twin boys are currently 5 years old.

"It's nice to have two kids who can do the same activities at the same time in the same place, too. And now that we are virtual schooling, it's nice to have two of my kids in the same grade," she continued.

Whatever the reason, here's five factors that can increase your odds of having twins-just in case you were wondering…

1. Age. As we get older, our bodies produce a higher amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), the hormone that helps eggs to mature before ovulation. Depending on the individual, this can occur some time after age 30. While an increase in FSH is actually a sign of decreasing fertility (because it means your body has to work harder to produce an egg) it can also cause you to release more than one egg per cycle, which may result in twins.

Related: Myth Busted: Getting Pregnant While Breastfeeding Is A Thing

2. Family history. Take advantage of your next family reunion to ask around about this one. Although it won't raise your chances by a lot, if there's a history of twins in your family, you are slightly more likely to conceive a set yourself.

3. Number of pregnancies. With each new pregnancy, your chances of twinning becomes greater. This is partly due to age (women are at least a few years older with each subsequent pregnancy) but it also may simply be due to odds. The more pregnancies you have, the better the chances you will hit the twin jackpot. In other words, you've gotta play to win.

4. Body type. It's more likely that you will birth multiples if you're on the taller or heavier side. One reason for this? Women with a little extra body fat can have higher levels of estrogen. This can lead to the release of not one, but two or more, eggs per cycle. This, in turn, increases your odds of having twins.

5. Yams? Actually yes. True yams, not to be confused with sweet potatoes, contain natural substances that many believe can cause hyperovulation, or the release of more than one egg per cycle. It may sound far-fetched but listen to this: the people of the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria rely on wild yams as a staple food and, believe it or not, they also happen to have a significantly higher rate of twins than anywhere else in the world. Other eating habits, such as a diet high in dairy products or in protein-rich foods, have been linked to an increased chance of twins but the reason behind these links remain unclear.

Health risks of having twins

So maybe you hit all five factors in increasing your odds for twins (as you reach for another yam fry). But is having twins in your best health interest? There are several risk factors that come with having twins that you should keep in mind, especially if you are older or have a higher body weight and BMI.
  • Hypertension- Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure during pregnancy. In a singleton pregnancy, the rate of hypertension is 6.5% whereas in twin pregnancies it jumps to 12.6%
  • Preeclampsia- Preeclampsia a condition that includes both high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It can cause seizures and be life-threatening to both the mother and the baby if left untreated.
  • Gestational diabetes- Moms of twins are more likely to have gestational diabetes
  • Preterm labor- Moms of twins are more likely to go into labor earlier than those of singleton pregnancies, which can be dangerous for the babies especially if their lungs have not fully developed.
  • Higher risk of c-sections- Moms of twins are more likely to have a c-section as it is difficult to get the babies in the correct orientation (head down) for birth.
  • Higher risk of miscarriage
  • Intrauterine growth discordance- This is when one twin grows at a significantly slower rate than the other twin. In the case of identical twins or those that share the same placenta, this means that one baby can take more than its share of blood flow from the placenta.
  • Risk of prematurity- Twin babies are significantly more likely to be more premature which can cause birth defects and developmental defects