Do Twins Eat Each Other in The Womb (Causes & Effects)

Have you believed that twins eat each other in the womb? Or have you had reasons to ask yourself if twins eat each other in the womb?

Sometimes there are cases of a twin vanishing or disappearing in the womb, and then the fairy tale of a twin eating the other in the womb surfaces.

The answer to the question, do twins eat each other in the womb is a no. Twins do not eat each other in the womb because they are not cannibals. 

The assumption is based on the strange disappearances that can occur when expecting twins. If you experience miscarriage while pregnant with one twin, your body may reabsorb the twin. Also, the surviving twin could absorb the miscarried twin, but this rarely happens.

This blog post details everything about the disappearing twin, its causes, and its effects on the surviving twin.

Table of Contents

When Did the Issue Of Disappearing Twin Start?

Disappearing twins in the womb is something entirely new because there have been issues with this, and the death of a twin in the womb has a lot of causes.

One of the causes could be an abnormality in the dead twin, usually a chromosome abnormality.

The idea of one of the twins disappearing or vanishing has been speculated for quite some time. Still, it came to the knowledge of medical professionals recently due to advances in medical technology. 

This discovery was known since first-trimester ultrasound was introduced as a regular part of prenatal care, which moms didn’t take seriously in the past.

So you can monitor the pregnancy when there is an early detection of a twin pregnancy. 

Should one of the twins vanish, concerns are raised, which was how medical professionals discovered the issue.

Do Twins Eat Each Other In The Womb?

Twins do not eat each other in the womb. It simply means that the development of one of the twins was halted, which resulted in the twin’s death.

A vanishing twin occurs when a fetus in a multifetal pregnancy dies in utero in the early first trimester. 

Throughout the pregnancy, it typically is resorbed back into the system and body of the mother,” Jeffrey A. Kuller, M.D., a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Duke University School of Medicine. 

The characteristic signs that follow the loss of a developing baby are not noticed because of the reabsorption.

The pregnancy continues as usual, and no one notices that a life is lost until delivery. Instead of having two babies, one baby is delivered.

What Are The Causes Of Disappearing Twins?

More like what happens with any miscarriage, one can’t point exactly to what causes this because multiple factors cause miscarriage.

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Some people may even tell you that their miscarriage is because they kept to the pregnancy rules and didn’t do anything to hamper the development of their babies. 

So the same thing applies to the disappearing twin issue, which is in no way the mother’s fault. 

One of the causes of disappearing twin syndrome that scientists have suggested is that it could be a result of genetic anomalies, which is also one of the causes of any miscarriage.

The issue of vanishing or disappearing twins is natural, not mysterious or spiritual. 

The chances of this being in existence for a very long time are possible, just that it wasn’t discovered then.

Modern technology, like ultrasound, has made its discovery easy and made us realize that twins do not eat each other.

Why Do People Think That a Twin Ate The Other?

One thing common in life is the spread of myths and fairy tales by unprofessional, and you know that false information travels faster.

People think a twin ate the other because of the absence of signs of miscarriage. 

Miscarriage often is the termination of a pregnancy and, in most cases, has a lot of factors that cause it. When it happens, there are signs that a miscarriage happens, and it is noticed.

But in this case, the baby disappears, or the pregnancy ends, and no one knows what happened, and you discover that the twin pregnancy has only one that developed to full term.

So, to come to terms with this mystery, the idea of a twin eating the other in the womb becomes the only solution since no sign of pregnancy was terminated.

Thanks to advances in medical technology now know that twins do not eat each other in the womb.

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What Are The Effects Of Disappearing Twins on The Surviving One?

You may be wondering what happens to the others surviving the disappearance of their twin sibling. 

The answer is that the pregnancy progresses fine and is carried to term. There will likely be no short or long-term effect on the surviving twin.

Suppose the disappearance happens further in the pregnancy, and the twins share a placenta. 

In that case, your doctors will monitor the surviving twin closely to ensure the baby is still getting the nutrients he needs.

In some cases, the surviving twin absorbs the cells of the dead twin. 

When such happens, the surviving twin who has inherited their sibling’s cells becomes a chimera, someone with two sets of DNA.

If not properly recognized, this might cause problems in the future because a person’s DNA may differ entirely from the person’s biological offspring. 

Research has reported this happening in a clinical case of a woman preparing for a kidney transplant, and her genetic composition was entirely different from those of her biological children.

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Of course, there would be worries, and the confusion was resolved when they discovered that she was a chimera and it was chimerism at work.

According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, She had absorbed a twin’s DNA in utero. But the children she delivered were hers.

Survivors of twin births have a higher risk of low birth rates. Furthermore, they are more likely to develop complications that can result in death in the first week of life. 

In some cases, the surviving twin may struggle with the survivor’s life guilt as he grows.

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What Happens When One Twin Dies in the Womb?

You can miscarry one twin during the first trimester without knowing you are pregnant with two babies. The outcome depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy. 

What Does VTS Mean? 

When one twin is miscarried, and the other survives, it’s called vanishing twin syndrome. VTS can occur before you know you’re pregnant with twins or after seeing both babies on an ultrasound. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent it.

How Common is VTS?

Since vanishing twin syndrome can occur before you expect twins, it’s difficult to calculate how often. However, medical research shows it happens in around 40 percent of twin pregnancies.

How Can Remove a Dead Twin?

When one twin passes away in the womb, the surviving twin may be at risk.

Your doctor will work with you to determine when and how to remove the twin who passed. The doctor could suggest an early delivery of both babies.

How To Know if You’ve Had a Vanishing Twin

If the loss occurs before your first ultrasound, you may not know you’ve had a vanishing twin.

However, if it occurs after the ultrasound says you’re pregnant with twins, you will know when one of the twins is no longer developing and showing up on the ultrasound. Symptoms of a miscarriage will most likely occur.

How Does One Deal With the Loss of a Baby?

If you lose a child, there is no one way to deal with the grief. Take time to grieve, find a support group, and talk to your doctor about any depression or anxiety you’re experiencing.


Hopefully, this article has given an in-depth discussion to answer the question of do twins eat each other in the womb. 

Twins do not eat others in the womb. Those little cuties are still dependent on their mother for survival. Therefore, they can’t even eat each other and are not cannibals.

We all know losing a child in utero can create many complex emotions and grief. So, it would be best to have your loved ones around you to help you and the surviving twin get through the rest of your pregnancy as well as you can.