Identical or fraternal twins: What’s the big difference, anyway?

September 24, 2013 by

Identical or fraternal twins: What’s the big difference, anyway?

You already know that having a baby is about to turn your world upside down, but what happens when you discover that you're pregnant with twins?

This discovery can be the stuff of great excitement among your family members, but it can also just as easily be a source of shock and downright anxiety for you, especially if you weren't even planning for a baby in the first place!

Having twins – and even figuring out what the big difference is between having an identical or fraternal set – can keep you busy during the final trimester of your pregnancy in more ways than one. Consider these helpful tips to gain insight into your impending delivery.

Identical vs. fraternal
Not all sets of twins are alike – in fact, pairs can be either identical or fraternal. But if this is your first pregnancy, you may be unsure what this even means. Identical twins are true mirror images of each other, and develop from the same fertilized egg. In the case of these twins, a woman's egg, once inseminated, has split in two, but the same basic genes exist for both.

For fraternal twins, conception is different. A woman may have released two eggs at the same time, and each has been fertilized separately, making the children essentially the same as any other set of siblings.

Should I double up on everything?
As a first time mother with twins on the way, that initial excitement can give way to serious anxieties. For one, you may be afraid about the stress and emotional impact that raising not one, but two little ones simultaneously will have on your life (not to mention your relationship). And if you're a single mother, that anxiety is probably even greater, as you may not be certain how you'll be able to manage the responsibilities that having two babies at once will bring.

Whether you're in need of single mother help or you're just plain nervous about the kind of planning that may go into having twins, one thing is probably on your mind more than any other: Do you need to buy two sets of everything?

While it's cute to imagine babies in their matching dresses or ensembles and playing with the same sets of toys, the fact is, you actually don't need to do this, especially if money has been tight.

A few things you'll absolutely need to have two of though? You should budget for two car seats and two cribs, for comfort and for safety. When it comes to strollers, you can be savvy by investing in a double stroller for both babies, along with playmats and swings.

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