Multiple births are births of more than one baby from a single pregnancy, and include twins, triplets and higher order multiples. This section focuses on mothers who had a multiple birth and babies born as part of a multiple birth.
While considered higher risk, most multiple pregnancies have positive outcomes for mothers and babies. However, women who have multiple births, and their babies, are at increased risk of certain conditions, including preeclampsia, anaemia, gestational diabetes, post-partum haemorrhage, pre-term birth, low birthweight, twin–twin transfusion syndrome and developmental delay (Twins Research Australia 2019). Families with multiple births may also experience financial stress, social isolation, and difficulties in accessing appropriate education (TRA 2019).
Additional care for families who have twins or other multiples is essential to eliminate or manage complications associated with multiple pregnancies (Twins Research Australia 2019). Appropriate support is important from early pregnancy through to the early years of the babies’ lives, including frequent antenatal care visits, access to specialist obstetric and paediatric care and access to services to support child development (TRA 2019).
The number of multiple births in Australia each year is small and has remained relatively stable at around 2-3% of all births (from 3.1% (9,442) of births in 2010 to 2.9% (8,469) of births in 2020).
In 2020, of this small proportion, almost all multiple births (98%) were twins, while the remaining 2% were other multiples (that is, triplets, quadruplets or higher).
Mothers who had a multiple birth
In 2020, mothers who had a multiple pregnancy accounted for 1.4% (4,205) of all women who gave birth.
The data visualisation below presents data for women who had a multiple birth gave birth, by selected maternal characteristics over an 11-year period (where available).