Because two noisy, bossy, head-strong, stinky, cheeky, cute, obnoxious, tiring, unhelpful female offspring is never enough......we thought, balls to it, let's have some more! With the arrival of twins in 2011, we now have four girls and chaos reigns. Welcome to my space and read all about the mundane, everydayness of Trouble Towers and all who live here.
Twin statistics - are twins more likely to have accidents or injury?
Watching my twins zooming around the living room the other day, egging each other on to go faster and faster, before finally coming together in a tearful baby crash in the middle of the room, I started to wonder if accidents were more likely for multiple babies and children than for singletons. I have certainly noticed that the twins seem to have been involved in more minor incidents than I ever remember the older two children being. Then I thought a bit more, and being an academic and a bit of a numbers geek, I decided to do a bit of twin research. And of course, that meant the internet.
Me, with my beloved stats.
The first thing I noticed on my little journey into twin statistics was that there is no shortage of facts available on the chances of conceiving and giving birth to twins. But I already know about the link between my maternal family history and my multiples – it’s how being a twin will impact on my children’s lives that fascinates me.
So first up, there are some things about twins and multiples that won’t really come as a surprise. Multiple pregnancies are more complicated, so mothers expecting multiples are more likely to experience problems on the way. Multiples are more likely to be smaller at birth, more likely to be premature, and sadly as a result, have a higher infant mortality and disability rate. This of course, is an average, and there are many instances where multiples are just as big and healthy as singleton babies - like my own, and for that I am grateful. There is some good information on the Multiple Births Foundation website.
Multiples have a higher rate of cot death, which has been attributed to the fact that twins are more likely to be in their own room rather than their parents’ room due to space constraints. Sad, but true. There is no evidence to suggest that twins are at a greater risk per se, which is reassuring.
A startling fact is that parents of multiples are more likely to divorce than parents of singletons. This is attributed to the pressures, mainly financial, that come from the change in needs due to the sudden increase in family size. This item in The Telegraph explains it better than I could.
Organisations like TAMBA have campaigned long and hard for support for families of multiples to help through the issues that parents of multiples seem to face disproportionately. TAMBA have recently campaigned against benefit cuts that, because of their nature, will hit multiple families much harder
Did you know that twins are twice as likely as the general population to be left-handed? I didn't either, but I do now.
As mother to my beloved twins, it is shocking how many twins (identical and non-identical) are used for scientific and psychological research. It would seem that twins are seen as great test cases for the nature ‘v’ nurture debate. Is this unethical? I am alarmed to think that my girls are more likely to be targeted for social and medical experimentation, like they are human guinea-pigs. They are a source of fascination, not only to me, but to scientists with testing equipment. It’s a scary thought.
See, I told you. Evil and untrustworthy.
Anyway, after all this research, are twins more likely to have accidents than other children? I still don’t know the answer to that one. It has been suggested that twins can collaborate to get up to mischief, that twins are more likely to be left alone for longer, and that the parent’s attention is divided meaning that accidents could be more common. However, there is also the flip-side that twins can help each other and alert carers if there is a problem. I can understand all this as I have seen it with my own (apart from the alerting me to a problem bit, which would be impressive at this age). As far as academic research is concerned, the jury is still out. Sorry.
With my little journey into twin statistics, I have found some interesting stuff, and the issues surrounding twins will continue to fascinate me for the rest of my life. But if you are a nut-job in a white coat and a clipboard, you can stay away from mine, thank you very much.