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Indian J Hum Genet. 2008 May;14(2):41-7. doi: 10.4103/0971-6866.44104.

Frequency of twinning in southwest Nigeria.



In the human species, twin is a type of multiple birth in which the mother gives birth to two offspring from the same pregnancy. The occurrence and frequency of twinning, however, varies across human populations. The maternal age, socio-environmental factors, increase in the use of contraceptives, the race of human population, increase in the spontaneous abortion rate, and seasonal variations are among the factors that could influence twinning rate. Information on twinning rates in southwest Nigeria is limited.


This study presents information on the frequency of twinning, as well as its analysis by maternal age, in four urban settings in southwest Nigeria. This is with the aim of extending current knowledge on the frequency of twinning in southwest Nigeria and contributing to the demographic studies in the country.


Data on single births and twin births from January 1995 to December 2004 were collected from the Oyo State General Hospital (OSGH), Wesley Guild Hospital (WGH), Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), and Ekiti State Specialist Hospital (ESSH) in Ogbomoso, Ilesa, Ile-Ife, and Ado-Ekiti respectively. These were analyzed by year and maternal age groups of 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, and 45-49 years according to the standard method.


A frequency of twin births of 46.5 per 1000 deliveries and 46.2 per 1000 deliveries was recorded for Ilesa and Ile-Ife respectively. The frequency recorded for Ogbomoso and Ado-Ekiti was 38.5 and 22.1 per 1000 deliveries respectively. The overall average frequency of 40.2 per 1000 deliveries for the four hospitals ranks among the highest recorded rates of twin births in the world. The maternal age group of 25-29 years had the highest occurrence of twin births, while the lowest was recorded in the 45-49 years age group.


This analysis reveals high incidence of twinning in the studied areas and supports previous assertion that the southwestern part of Nigeria has the highest twinning rate in the country and in the whole world. It is our opinion that diet, maternal history of twinning, and some socio-environmental factors may have influenced the results.


Diet; maternal influence; southwest Nigeria; twinning rate

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