Utah County is seeing double more often than the rest of the state.
More multiples are born in the county compared to the rest of the state. There were 20 twins born per 1,000 births in Utah County in 2016, according to the Utah County Department of Health’s annual report for 2016. That compares with the state rate of 16.1 twins per 1,000 births.
Both state and county rates are still well below the rational rate, which is 33.9 twins born per 1,000 births.
“It seems like every day I’m going to see at least one,” said Scott Rees, ob-gyn with Valley Obstetrics and Gynecology. Rees delivers babies throughout the county, including at the Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem.
There were 140 sets of twins and a set of triplets born at the Timpanogos Regional Hospital between May 2016 and May 2017. During that time 1,264 single babies were born.
Rates of multiples have increased nationwide due to the increasing use of fertility methods as women have become mothers later in life. But in Utah County, where mothers begin to have children – and many of them – young, fewer methods of fertility are needed compared to other women who are trying to conceive.
Rees said that it is not only the use of IVF that leads to higher rates of multiple, but also fertility drugs, such as Clomid, which is prescribed to women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Twins can affect parents who have to accommodate two children at a time. Mapleton’s mom Cassie Shepherd has twins, Addie and Emily, who are 3 years old, who used to cry with compassion when they were kids when they heard the other twin cry.
“They definitely feed each other,” Shepherd said.
Life can be hectic for mothers of multiples, so Utah County mothers have turned to Utah Valley Moms of Multiples, a Facebook group where mothers turn to each other for support. The group also has a private, paid group that has a monthly night and provides additional support.
Shepherd, who also has a 5-month-old son, is the group’s membership coordinator. She said she has seen the Facebook group grow in membership in recent years.
It currently has about 600 members.
Shepherd found UVMOM when she was pregnant with her twins. As a mother for the first time expecting multiples, I had many questions.
“That’s the first place I’d go back to when I had a question,” he said.
There, he found other moms who can relate to having twins.
“There are definitely hard times, but there are times when you see that bond, and it’s super, very special and it’s so unique to be able to witness that,” Shepherd said.
Mothers in the Facebook group most commonly want to know about how other twins were born and whether babies spent time in a neonatal intensive care unit. They are told not to be surprised if they need a C-section and babies have to stay in the NICU.
“There’s always a lot of advice on how to get your baby showers done early because there is a risk of premature birth,” Shepherd said.
As the number of multiples increases, so do the risks.
“The number one risk of multiples is going to be premature birth,” Rees said.