The birth of a new baby can add stress to any marriage. Parents find themselves thrown into a new life, one that is full of crying and dirty diapers and a serious lack of sleep. In addition, there are new financial pressures that start with buying diapers and formula and only increase as the child needs school supplies, a car, and a college education.

While many new parents have trouble coping with the stress a new baby adds to a life and to a marriage, this increased pressure is doubled when parents bring home twins. According to new research, this compounded stress is a likely reason for a new finding, which says that the divorce rate is higher for parents with twins than for those who have singles.

This conclusion was reached after several medical professionals used data from the 1980 census to compare the marital status of over 800,000 sets of parents who had twins as their first-born children to those who had single babies. Of those couples, parents of twins had a divorce rate of about one percent higher than parents of singles.

While this is a small difference, researchers hypothesize that this number will only continue to grow as twins become more common in California and throughout the country. Currently, twins make up between 3 and 4 percent of all U.S. births. However, as fertility treatments become more widely used, that number is expected to increase.

The researchers were uncertain as to the reason for the increased divorce rate, but hypothesized that increased stress and a lack of sleep may be the triggers for already shaky marriages. In addition, the increased financial demands of two babies at once can also put pressure on a couple, leading them into divorce.

Source: Reuters, "Parents of twins slightly more likely to divorce", Genevra Pittman, 31 March 2011