Multiple birth mums missing out

Parents expecting twins or triplets aren’t getting the vital birth and parenting advice they need during pregnancy.

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Expecting twins or triplets? Two thirds of you may not be getting the birth and parenting advice you should, says the Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba).

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Just 36% of the 1,300 mums polled were offered parenting education sessions that were specifically angled at how to look after twins or triplets.

Info on how to have a healthy multiple pregnancy, how to avoid or identify multiple pregnancy complications, how to breastfeed more than one baby, and where to seek help are all things mums-to-be could miss out on if they don’t attend multiple-specific parent education sessions.

While many twin or triplet pregnancies are problem-free, they’re usually considered to be of higher risk because of there’s an increased chance of complications, such as premature birth.

Tamba says there’s evidence that parenting advice tailored to multiple pregnancies and births makes a difference, contributing to:

  • Higher birth weights
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Lesser likelihood of medical intervention
  • Lesser likelihood of preterm birth
  • Fewer complications for mums, such as postnatal depression (PND)

Of the mums surveyed, 17% experienced depression. This is almost twice as many as the reported estimates for all mums. For mums who did go to multiple-specific parenting education classes, 15% experienced depression. For those who didn’t, the number was higher, at 19%

“This education should be the rule, not the exception,” said Tamba chief executive, Keith Reed.

Multiple Births Foundation director Jane Denton said multiple birth parents need continued support, and specific support “to help hem cope with the practicalities of having two or more new babies.”

NICE, the government watchdog, is developing guidelines on the management of multiple pregnancy – but we probably can’t expect these before 2011.

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If you’re expecting twins, triplets or more, Tamba has some guidance you can download for free.

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