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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Expecting Triplets - General Information
Expecting Triplets - General Information
Elizabeth Bryan. in her epic work "Twins. Triplets and More." writes: "A study by the Australian Multiple Births Association showed that it took 197 hours per week just to care for baby triplets and to do the household chores. The problem is that there are only 168 hours in a week." That's 28 hours and 12 minutes a day. which doesn't leave much time for sleep or anything else !

Having triplets will make you a local celebrity and you will need to take advantage of that! Educate the inquiring minds. and then hit them up for help! You will need it before and after your pregnancy !

There are four ways to conceive triplets. :
  • When three eggs are released and each is fertilized by a different sperm. fraternal triplets result.
  • When only one egg is released and fertilized. but splits. and then one half splits again. identical triplets result.
  • When two eggs are released and fertilized separately. and one of those fertilized eggs splits again. mixed triplets--two identical and one fraternal result.
  • In the course of the IVF fertility treatment. three or more fertilized eggs are assembled and put back into the uterus to grow. The result is fraternal triplets. at the very least!
UK Statistics
In the UK. one out of every three thousand live births is the birth of triplets. and there have been many more triplets born over the last twenty years ago although in recent years the statistics have seen a steep decline. This is partially because of all the fertility drugs that have been developed and are in wide use now with approx 15% of multiples being born due to IVF treatment (and the decrease in triplets due to the HFEA regulations on limiting the embryo transfer to only two eggs for women under 40 years old) but it's also explained by the increasing number of older mothers. who are more prone to multiple births as well as technological advances in neo-natal care that allow more babies to survive.

Weight Gain & Nutrition
In order to successfully carry three babies. you need to add at least 3 stone (fifty pounds) to cover the course of 32 to 33 weeks. the usual gestation period of triplets. After about twenty weeks. you may no longer be able to work or function normally. You will need to consume two hundred grams of protein daily. plenty of salt. and enough iron. calcium. folic acid. and other nutrients to support all of your needs. You may also need bed rest and you may be monitored more closely in case of pre-term labour as. should it begin. steps can be taken to stop or slow this down as it is vitally important to help keep those babies inside of you where they need to be as long as possible.

Risks in Triplet Pregnancies
Triplet pregnancies have a significantly increased risk of complications including miscarriage. high blood pressure and premature birth. Premature babies have an increased risk of complications. such as a weakened immune system. physical and mental disability and feeding and breathing difficulties.

There is a high chance of multiple babies being born prematurely or weighing less than five and a half pounds. These small and premature babies need special (and expensive) care and are often hospitalised for weeks or even months after birth. Their mother may need extra care as well. Medical complications such as pre-eclampsia or toxemia are relatively common in mothers of multiples. Don't worry. with the increase in multiple births. medical science is now more able than ever to care for these needs.

You can also refer to our article on Risks in Multiple Pregnancies for more information.

Please Note: This information is not intended as medical advice and you should always speak to your consultant and mid-wife should you have any concerns during your pregnancy.

Equipment Essentials
You will need to buy a triple buggy (or a double and a baby carrier) and three car seats and many other necessities although refer to our buying guides for more information on essential equipment and guides to buying buggies/prams. You may survive the early years of parenting triplets if you also invest in setting up more than one nappy changing area. and a refrigerator and microwave in the nursery may also help. A special gated area of your house in which your babies will be completely safe is a good idea as well. Another crucial investment is a video camera with which you can create a visual baby book. since you may not have time to write in a journal but will want to capture the joy (and chaos) of these first few years.

Challenging but Rewarding !
Even so. while multiple pregnancy is hard work. and a multiple labour and delivery may be more of a challenge to everyone. including you. the majority of twin and triplet births are as joyous and rewarding as any other. and many pregnancies and births are perfectly straightforward.

Looking for more information on triplets? You may be interested in our other articles on Triplet Pregnancy and Caring for Triplets

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