The Multiple Births Foundation was founded in 1988 and has become a national and international authority on multiple births.
We are the only charity internationally which employs healthcare professionals dedicated to supporting multiple birth families and educating and advising professionals about their special needs.
Click here for information on information on zygosity testing to test whether multiples are identical.
Click here for information on our Preparing for Twins and Triplets evening meeting.
It is an independent charity and relies solely for its income on grants, donations and fundraising activities.
New report welcomed, but improvements to care needed to reduce risk of deaths in twin pregnancies
Jane Denton, Director of the Multiple Births Foundation (MBF) and Co-lead of the Elizabeth Bryan Multiple Births Centre (EBMBC) at Birmingham City University has called for improvements to the quality of care for women with twin and multiple pregnancies following the release of a new report.
The Perinatal Confidential Enquiry: Still Births and Neonatal Deaths in Twin Pregnancies has been published by the MBRRACE–UK collaboration led by Oxford University:
The report looked at 50 twin pregnancies in 2017 where one or both of the babies died. Its aim was to review the quality of care – compared against national guidelines for best practice – to determine whether different levels of care may have made a change for the babies and the mother.
The report found high quality care in only a minority of cases where one or more twins had died. It also showed that recommendations in many medical guidance documents, including the NICE Multiple Pregnancy Guideline, were also not fully implemented. The report determined that if care had been better, around one in two babies may not have died.
Jane Denton, Director of the Multiple Births Foundation (MBF) and Co-lead of the Elizabeth Bryan Multiple Births Centre (EBMBC) at Birmingham City University, said:
“While it is well established that all multiple pregnancies have higher risks for women and their babies it is always extremely distressing to hear that babies’ lives may have been saved with different and better care.
“Most striking and of great concern in this excellent report is the failure to follow the many sources of guidance and implement the recommendations which could have made a difference. In some cases the effective leadership and communication that are required for the provision of high quality services were not evident.”
Key findings included:
- Only half of the women had a discussion with health professionals about their individual risks, particularly the signs and symptoms of preterm birth;
- Less than half were looked after by a multidisciplinary team of experts in twin pregnancies;
- Bereavement care was poor for around three in five women with many not given any support to help them cope with their loss.
Jane Denton, who was a member of the NICE Multiple Pregnancy Guideline Development Groups and chair of the Topic Expert Group for the NICE Multiple Pregnancy Quality Standard continued:
“Immediate action must be taken by commissioners, professional bodies and service providers throughout the UK to implement the recommendations urgently.
“In future work, the MBF and EBMBC will draw on the important findings of this report to develop education and research to drive improvements in provision of maternity care, bereavement care and nurturing support to families with twins.
“We lend our voices to the call to action heralded in the report and hope that its publication will provide impetus for meaningful and impactful change.”
MMBRACE-UK Perinatal Confidential Enquiry: Still Births and Neonatal Deaths in Twin Pregnancies
MMBRACE-UK Learning from deaths in twin pregnancies – How care could be improved and baby deaths in twin pregnancies prevented (Lay Summary)
The MBF is delighted to welcome the NICE guideline on twin and triplet pregnancy
First published in 2011 and updated in 2019 the guideline has been critical in setting the standards for clinical care to give the best possible outcomes for mothers and babies, most importantly having a specialist multiple births multidisciplinary team to provide consistent high quality care. Promoting the implementation of the guideline will continue to be a key part of our work.
The guideline can be found on the NICE website along with the supporting evidence and an equality impact assessment to support the guideline. The recommendations from this guideline have been included in the NICE Pathway on twin and triplet pregnancy which brings together everything fed back by organisations such as the MBF on twin and triplet pregnancy in an interactive flowchart. There is also a brief information about the guideline for people using services, carers and the public at "Information for the public".
Book published for parents expecting twins
The MBF's Director, Jane Denton and Professor Mark Kilby have recently published a book for expectant parents of twins called 'One Born Every Minute: Expecting Twins.'
Written by 2 of the leading experts on multiple births it is the most comprehensive, accessible, illustrated guide to pregnancy, birth and the first year of the babies' life. It combines personal stories form parents of twins with medical advice from consultants giving expectant parents all the information they need.
The MBF's FOUNDER, DR ELIZABETH (LIBBY) BRYAN, FRCP, FRCPCH,
born May 13 1942; died February 21 2008
The founder of the Multiple Births Foundation, Elizabeth Mary Bryan, Consultant Paediatrician, was widely acknowledged as one of the world's greatest experts on twins and higher multiple births, their problems and their development. She was the author of several books, a number of which were about multiples, another on infertility and the final one about the cancer gene that ultimately killed her. Until very nearly the end of her life, she was also a lecturer of international renown. A biography of her life can be found here.
In 2016 11,949 sets of twins were born in the UK compared with 7,573 in 1985.
However most people have little idea just how demanding multiple birth babies can be. The reality is that often parents' ability to cope is dramatically reduced by the problems that accompany having twins, triplets or more. As a result, the need for the correct care and support has never been greater and it is our aim to provide advice, information and support to multiple birth families and professionals working in the field.
- Mothers may need extra pre-natal
care and monitoring.
- Babies are often born earlier,
or smaller than singleton babies, and are therefore more vulnerable.
- Coping with two or more
newborn babies can seem an overwhelming task, and parents may
need support with caring for the babies.
- Multiples may experience
language delay, behavioural disorders, excessive rivalry or dependency.
The Multiple Births Foundation is a charity
and relies for its income on grants, donations and fundraising activities.