Fraternal vs. identical twins

When you hear the words twin the first thing that comes to the mind is how will you tell them apart? What if you feed or bathe the same one twice? What to do if both kids start crying together? Everyone assumes that if its twins they’ll be identical like we see on TV or maybe boy/girl twins. Not many think that twins (boy/boy or girl/girl) can be born together but will be completely different in physical appearances. All Human Beings are different in their own personality. It’s the same for twins. No two twins are same in character and it’s sometimes not like you are seeing double also. Here let’s discuss the differences between identical and fraternal twins.

Identical twins

An Identical or Monozygotic twin is mostly like seeing mirror image of one. They are a result of a single fertilized egg splitting into two embryos. The two embryos share the same placenta, same DNA and same blood type but different fingerprints. They are always the same sex. They may or may not look exactly alike due to positions in the womb or environmental issues but they are very much alike. It is sometimes said that they even share the same brain wave patterns. The cause of having identical twins is still unknown.  But however splitting image of each other they are, we have all heard of the saying “I may be a twin but I’m one of a kind”

Fraternal twins

Fraternal or Dizygotic twins are produced when two fertilized eggs are implanted. They are mostly in appearance like two siblings who happen to share the same birthday. They can be of same sex or boy/girl twin. They have their own placenta, sometimes different blood type and different fingerprints. They are more common then identical twins and are in heredity or cause of fertility drugs/treatments.

Twin pregnancy

First Ultrasounds can tell if you are having twins and also what type of twins. Having twins is a double blessing but it also carries double the risk for mothers to be than in a singleton pregnancy. Half of all twins are born prematurely and have low birth weight. Mothers clock in more hours at their obstetrician and feel more morning sickness than in a single baby pregnancy. They are also at more risk to miscarry. Identical Twins face more complications in delivery than fraternal twins. Monozygotic twins are more at risk of

  • Twin to twin transfusion syndrome: This rare but potentially serious complication occurs when one twins share the others blood supply. One baby gets too large a volume of blood which may affect his heart and lead to heart failure. The other will get less amount of blood which may result in the baby to become smaller and anemic.
  • Low birth weight or birth defect: Identical Twins are more prone to growth restriction than the twins with separate placenta.  Weight inequality is more common as sometimes there is not enough nutrition for both the fetus.
  • Cord entanglement: It happens in most monozygotic pregnancies. The umbilical cord can get wrapped around any part of the fetus body or the two umbilical cords getting tangled with each other.

Special Care should be taken when pregnant with any type of twins. You should visit your obstetrician regularly. Take your vitamin supplements on time. And take lots of rest.

Everyone assumes if you are have twins whether fraternal or identical, it will be trouble juggling both at the same time. Of course being a twin parents mean more nappy changes, more expenses, sleepless nights, etc but from my own experience of having fraternal twin girls (and no they don’t look anything alike) they are like ‘Two little blessings, sent from above, twice the smiles, twice the love.’