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Multiple Births

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Since no two pregnancies or families are alike and women’s bodies carry babies in completely different ways, giving birth and living life with multiples has unique joys, needs, supports and challenges. Multiple births include twins, triplets and higher order multiples. In Australia, about 3 in 100 births are multiple babies (TRA).

There are more multiples being born mainly due to increased uptake of assisted conception. We will take you through some information about pregnancy, birth and home time with multiples.  

Finding out your are expecting multiples:

For many it may come as shock and /or surprise to discover you are expecting more than a single baby. Your emotional responses will no doubt be mixed, and it may take some time to adjust to the news. Getting an ultrasound scan in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, confirming the pregnancy status and connecting with an experienced healthcare provider is important. Finding your local multiple birth club may also be useful as you delve into the unique world of multiples.

The pregnancy period:

  • You may notice early on amplified symptoms such as nausea, sore breasts, excessive tiredness, more weight gain and increased mood changes. This is all normal and expected.  
  • More bodily changes occur as well, so finding ways to manage this will help.
  • Your partner may also feel a bit overwhelmed as you both adjust to the news. Start talking about it early!
  • Anyone can experience complications during pregnancy — regardless of how many babies you’re carrying. However, most healthcare providers consider multiple pregnancies higher risk than single pregnancies. You will be able to talk through your concerns and the possible risks with your healthcare provider in order to take the best care of yourself and your babies.  
  • Regular, quality antenatal care is critical to ensure you feel comfortable and supported.  
  • Eating as healthily as you can, resting when you can and staying active with safe, low impact exercise will help you throughout this time. Drinking plenty of water may also be beneficial and a specialist recommended pregnancy supplement may be worth considering.  
  • Daily pelvic floor exercises will also minimise future health risks including loss of bladder control and a prolapsed uterus.
  • Connecting with Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) and your local multiple births club can help you find other families travelling a similar path. 

The birth:

Most multiple pregnancies progress smoothly. However, there’s a higher chance of your babies being born prematurely or having a low birth weight. Generally, a full-term pregnancy for twins is 37-38 weeks. For triplets, 35 weeks is considered full-term; for quads and more this figure reduces even further (AMBA).  

A caesarean delivery might be used for a variety of reasons, but it’s quite common in multiple births. Your healthcare provider will monitor you leading up to your due date and talk to you about the best option for delivery.

Generally (though not always), when babies are born before 37 weeks, they may spend time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery (SCN). Many premature babies will be ready to go home around the time of their due date, but some will need to stay in hospital a bit longer if they need.  

This experience can be scary and totally new. Going home, while your babies stay at the hospital for a little while longer was not anticipated and can feel heartbreaking, a bit like a loss. Talking to hospital staff, asking for a debrief of the birth, planning for hospital visits and finding ways to connect with your babies as well as talking to other parents can help whilst your babies get ready to come home.

Babies can improve at different rates and have different levels of needs which can add to the already intense situation. Speaking to the hospital social worker or someone at AMBA may help. The experience can feel like a roller coaster.  


Now you are home and managing the needs of your babies as well as trying to look after yourself, it may feel difficult at times. Their sleep, feed and play times may not line up and getting some extra practical as well as emotional support may be essential. Take one day at a time, enlist some supports, and enjoy the little wins when they come.  

Try not to place added pressure on yourself with breastfeeding as you establish some sort of routine, you may need to add or replace with bottle feeding. Do what is right for you. Babies don’t usually mind how they get fed.  

Research consistently shows that parenting multiples has a significant impact on maintaining good mental health and that these parents are at higher risk of developing anxiety and depression than those with single babies. The intensity of caring, broken sleep added postnatal complications for babies, financial strain and relationship stresses all occur at various levels for most families with multiples. The challenges are far greater and additional supports are essential. Keep lines of communication open with your partner and ask for help if needed.

It will be OK!:

After some settling in time and as the babies grow, parents of multiples describe their experience as holding much joy and how they love to see how the babies continue to bond with each other. Most say, it does become easier, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Nilu's story:

Nilu, one of our Angels, shares her story on our website.  

A month after birth of her twins:

“Sleep became elusive, every minor incident triggered anger within me, and tears flowed incessantly without any discernible reason. I felt utterly lost and alone, unable to breastfeed due to the high levels of stress I was experiencing. In fact, my milk production ceased entirely.

The weight of everything became overwhelming. It was a paradoxical situation where I was undeniably blessed with twins, yet unable to fully savour the joys of motherhood due to these extreme circumstances. To aid in my recovery, I adopted a series of steps.”  



Gidget Foundation Australia

Australian Breastfeeding Association

For support and resources, you can contact the  Australian Multiple Birth Association.  

You can also call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby  
on 1800 882 436 for advice or support.




Need urgent help?

1300 726 306
Mon-Fri 9.00am to 7.30pm
Saturdays and PH 9:00am to 4:00pm


13 11 14
Helpline is open 24 hours/day

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