Chicago Convention A Great Event
by Miriam Lasker
The annual meeting of the Illinois chapter of the Multiple Birth Association
was another eagerly anticipated and much-enjoyed event.
Almost 500 parents of twins, triplets, quadruplets and even-more-plets gathered together at
the Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago for three days of information, support
Dr. Brenda Patterson, president of the Illinois chapter (and a
mother of triplets to boot) opened the proceedings on Friday afternoon
with a welcoming speech and new information on the psychology of
multiple births babies. The speech was fascinating and Twin Life hopes to
have a copy of her talk in an upcoming issue.
During the next few days, there were several booths and workshops that
covered such topics as multiple birth complications, fertility drugs,
school issues and adolescent problems. The vendors were, as always, a
welcome addition to the convention. Many attendees left with great bargains
on strollers, clothing and toys, designed with the multiple birth child
A moonlight cruise on Lake Michigan, along the Chicago shoreline was provided
on Saturday night. While I'm not a big fan of big cities, I greatly enjoyed
the view of Chicago at night. Not at all the impression one gets from reading
The convention broke up on Sunday morning. We all left happy, refreshed
and exhilarated, having spent a great time with old friends and made new ones.
See you at Next Year's Convention in Joliet!
How Common Are Twins?
Twin pregnancies are either fraternal or identical. Fraternal twins share the
same womb, but come from different ovum. Genetically, fraternal twins are
as alike as any pair of siblings. Identical twins on the other hand, come
from the same fertilized ovum and therefore share the same genetic makeup.
The ratio of fraternal twin to single births varies from country to country.
The highest incidence occurs in the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria where 46 of
every 1000 pregancies involves fraternal twins. The lowest is in Japan,
where the incidence of fraternal twinning is 4 per 1000. America and other
European countries have about the same rate of 11 to 12 per 1000 births.
The ratio of identical twin to single births is constant across countries
and nationalities. About 3 out of every 1000 births involves identical twins.
Scientists don't know why some pregancies involve identical twins and
others do not, but it seems to be independent of such issues as heredity
Multiple Births on the Increase
Incidences of multiple birth pregnancies have increased by 8% in the
past 10 years. The increase has been attributed to later pregnancies
by working mothers, which are more likely to result in twin births and
the increased use of fertility drugs. "Twins and even triplet births
are much more common these days, " says nurse Denise Schoeder of St.
Judes hospital in Beaverton, Illinois. "Fortunately we are much better
equipped to handle the special complications that arise with these
type of pregnancies than we were, even five years ago." Statistics
bear this out. Complications resulting from low birthweight babies
(a common occurence with multiple births) are down 25% in the past ten
In Dade County, Florida, two quadruplets have been born in the past
18 months. "I think we'll need to increase the size of our marternity
ward if this keeps up," says Dr. Lawrence Jacobs of Miami Community
Sociologists worry about the effect of these multiple births on families
and parents. "Parents usually prepare for a single child. When they're
suddenly faced with a larger family than expected, it can cause stress
and tension." reports a study recently published in the American Journal
of Family Sociology.
Nonetheless, parents seem to recover from the surprise. "There's an
initial shock," reports Schoeder, "but after they get over that, parents
are usually very pleased. In fact, they begin to see the humor in the
situation. I think we tend to underestimate the coping abilities of