Moms in America set a new record for twin births

Baba Health Tips

They say good things come in pairs, and that’s increasingly true for American babies, new government data show.

The U.S. twinning rate hit a record last year, with 33.9 out of every 1,000 births involving twins. That increase from the 2013 rate of 33.7 per 1,000 births isn’t big enough to be statistically significant, but it did qualify as “a new high for the nation,” according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rise in twin births can be traced to twin trends: American women are waiting longer to have babies, and those who use in vitro fertilization are being more conservative with their treatments.

The average age of first-time moms continued to rise in 2014, setting a new U.S. record at 26.4 years. Overall, the birth rate for women in their teens and early 20s fell last year, while the birth rate for women ages 25 to 44 rose.

Although fertility declines as women get older, older women are more likely to have fraternal twins. Scientists say that as the ovaries run low on eggs, the body responds by releasing higher levels of a follicle-stimulating hormone. That, in turn, makes the release of multiple eggs more likely. If two or more are of good quality, fraternal twins (or triplets, or even higher order multiples) can be the result.

As a result, the birth rate for twins is up 79% since 1980, while the birth rate for triplets and higher-order multiples has declined 41% since peaking in 1998, according to the report. In 2014, 113.5 out of every 100,000 births involved higher-order multiples, the lowest it has been in 20 years.

Altogether, 4,526 babies were born as triplets, quadruplets or higher-order multiples in 2014. That’s the lowest figure since 1993, the report said.

Overall, the nation’s fertility rate was 62.9 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. That’s up slightly from 62.5 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age

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