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The Birth Control Side Effect You Don’t Know About—But Should

birth-control

I truly believe that knowledge is power. Especially when it comes to all things reproductive. And one—incredibly fascinating—thing I came across while researching my own issues going off birth control, was something called “The Twin Effect.” (Please say with dramatic inflection for emphasis.)

Although its name sounds like something that would be out of a sci-fi book, it’s based on a 1977 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that found that the chance of having twins is 70 percent more likely in women who conceive three to six months after stopping the pill than those who wait more than six months after the pill to get pregnant. Now, before you coming-off-the-pill gals freak out that you’ll have twins (like I did), know that the chance of having twins even with The Twin Effect (dun dun dun) is just six per 1,000 pregnancies. So it’s not like you’re going to have twins, but your likelihood is relatively higher (by quite a bit) than it would be if you waited.

Crazy, right? I found this little interesting tidbit out when I spoke to Dr. Samuel Wood for a previous piece I was doing on post-pill amenorrhea and immediately wanted to know why, why, why? On one hand, you have women who can’t seem to have a period when coming off the pill, and then, on the other, you have women who are having double babies. Oh, the irony. Wood says that The Twin Effect occurs because the pill suppresses the hormones that stimulate the ovaries to release eggs. When a woman discontinues the pill, it may cause a rebound elevation in these hormones, leading to a greater chance that two or more eggs (eek!) will be released during those menstrual cycle rather than just one (as is seen in the vast majority of cycles). Again, fascinating.

I, of course, also asked him what the heck us wannabe moms should do about this phenomenon.

“Although the absolute increase in the number of twins seen in conceptions soon after stopping the pill is low, women who are certain that they do not want twins may want to delay becoming pregnant immediately after discontinuing the pill, while those that would like to have twins may choose to take advantage of the Twin Effect by attempting to become pregnant in the month after stopping the pill.”

Like I said, knowledge is power. But then again, you only have so much control over what Mother Nature dishes out. Now who wants double babies? —Jenn



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15 Comments
  1. Rachel says:

    Yep, this happened to me. Got pregnant the second month off the pill with twin girls. As long as you are healthy, even little mamas (5′ 100 lbs) can have healthy twins. Eat a Lot in the beginning! Two gorgeous girls after 10 years on the pill. Their big brother is the best 🙂

  2. Tabetha says:

    Honestly, these are the least of the health concerns when the pill is involved.

    1. Star says:

      Maybe not too much of a health concern but a financial concern if you cannot afford one child let alone 2.

      Plus a pregnancy with twins/multiples are riskier to the mother’s health than pregnancies with a single baby.

      1. honest honeybee says:

        I think what star is talking about is that synthetic hormones are carcinogenic. Women are the canaries in the coal mine on synth hormone birth control…when a low, low invasiveness, non-hormonal, reversible procedure for men has existed for decades and is popular in india. (RISUG). There is no excuse for big pharma to be brainwashing women into using it for any extended period of time. Yet women tend to get consciously defensive of the pill. Bc being angry at the messenger is easier than having to realize we’re being lied to and harmed and killed.

  3. Sarah says:

    It sounds interesting..Thank you!

  4. Amy P says:

    It also happened to me,. 2 months after going off the pill and the first week we tried for a baby I got pregnant with twins. Although, there are also twins in my family so I have an even greater chance of twins anyway. 🙂

  5. Christine says:

    I stopped all hormonal birth control 5 years ago, have no twins in my family and here I am expecting twins in June.:) Just to show that it can happen anytime.

  6. blanca castro says:

    hi my question ? i have been irregular since i started my period at age 14 , i have pcos and i do not ovulate so i can’t get pregnent,so i’m wondering can i go on the pill?

    1. Jenn says:

      Hi Blanca,

      That’s definitely a question for your doctor!

      –FBG Jenn

  7. Kelsey says:

    I’m hoping this works for me! Praying for twins!

  8. Demetra says:

    My sister got preggers with twins shortly after stopping birth control! It happens!

  9. Rebekah says:

    I came off the pill and 6 months later got pregnant with b/g fraternal twins, also no twins on either side of the family.

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