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Newborn babyNewborn baby

Pregnancy with more than 1 baby

Multiple pregnancy happens in about 1 in every 80 pregnancies. Twins, triplets or other multiple pregnancies need closer monitoring with more frequent tests and scans. Each multiple pregnancy and birth is cared for individually. Your doctor and midwife will help you with your pregnancy journey.

Your first ultrasound scan will confirm if you are carrying more than one baby. Your GP or midwife will discuss your pregnancy journey with you and any additional appointments you may need. It will be important to find out the type of multiple pregnancy you have and whether your babies share a placenta. Babies who share a placenta have a higher risk of complications.

Minor problems that can happen in any pregnancy are more common for women who are having more than 1 baby. This can include morning sickness, heartburn, backache and tiredness.

Other problems that are more common with multiple babies include:

  • anaemia
  • pre-eclampsia
  • heavier bleeding than normal after the birth
  • higher chance of needing a caesarean section or assisted vaginal delivery

Extra care and scans

The number of tests and scans you’ll be offered will depend on the type of twins or triplets you're having.

Antenatal care with twins on the NHS website

Giving birth to more than 1 baby

You're more likely to give birth before the usual 40 week gestational period with multiple babies. Delivery often depends on individual circumstances, including how your babies are positioned in your stomach. If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy your doctor or midwife should offer an elective birth from:

  • 37 weeks of pregnancy if you are carrying dichorionic twins (babies having separate placentas)
  • 36 weeks if you are carrying monochorionic twins (babies sharing a placenta)
  • 35 weeks if you are carrying triplets

Around 40% of twin births are vaginal and similar to having one baby. You should discuss if a vaginal birth is possible with your doctor and midwife.
You may choose to have a planned caesarean or be recommended to have a caesarean section.

Twin and multiple births video on the NHS website

Giving birth to multiple babies on the NHS website

Multiple pregnancy: having more than one baby on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

Multiple pregnancy: antenatal care for twin and triplet pregnancies on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Benefits and support with more than one baby

Maternity grant

The Maternity Grant is a single (tax free) payment of £628.53 to help with the general cost of having a baby. It's normally paid directly into your bank account. 
If you have multiple births (twins, triplets or more), you'll get this amount for each baby.

Maternity allowance

Maternity Allowance is paid weekly to help you take time off work to have a baby. It’s paid for a maximum of 18 weeks.
The current rate for Maternity Allowance is £209.51 a week, paid directly into your bank account. One allowance is paid per pregnancy. The amount is not increased if you have twins or triplets.

Support groups and charities

Multiple Births Foundation
Tamba: Twins and Multiple Births Association

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