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Taller eves more likely to have twins, says study

Women who are tall and have a desire to give birth to twins may just have their wish come true, a study says.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 14:00 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International

Women who are tall and have a desire to give birth to twins may just have their wish come true.

An obstetrician who specialises in multiple-birth pregnancies has confirmed that taller women are more likely to have twins.

The suspected reason behind the same is an insulin-like growth factor, which has been positively linked to both height and twinning.

By comparing the heights of women who had given birth to twins or triplets with the average height of women in the United States, Gary Steinman, MD, PhD, an attending physician at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center, found that the multiple-birth mothers averaged more than an inch taller than their single-birth counterparts.

"Any circumstance that affects the amount of available insulin-like growth factor so as to modify the sensitivity of the ovary to follicle-stimulating hormone appears to govern the rate of spontaneous twinning," said Dr. Steinman.

Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) is a protein that is released from the liver in response to growth hormone. It increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to follicle stimulating hormone, thereby increasing ovulation.

Previous studies have demonstrated that people with short stature have significantly lower levels of IGF compared to countries with taller women, who have higher rates of twinning.

The study also showed that women who consume animal products, specifically dairy, are five times more likely to have twins. Cows, like humans, produce IGF in response to growth hormone and release it into the blood, making IGF’s way into their milk.

First Published: Sep 23, 2006 15:49 IST