Tamba logo - Twins and Multiple Births Association

Saving lives, supporting families

Statistics show twin and triplet births are historically high

10th January 2019

There is still more work to be done when it comes to ensuring safer births for multiples.

That’s our message to the Government following the release today (Thursday, January 10th) on the number of multiple births in England and Wales in 2017 which include the stillbirth rates.

The Office of National Statistics have published their birth data for England and Wales for 2017 which reveal a 1.6% decrease (from 2016) in the overall number of multiple births.

There were 657,882 babies born in England and Wales in 2017, of these 21,224 were multiples which represents around 3.22% of all births.

Although the overall number of multiple births has decreased slightly, the birth rate is still historically high.

Of concern are figures showing that multiple stillbirths as a percentage of all stillbirths have risen. This is in spite of growing evidence that good care can reduce twin stillbirths, neonatal deaths and neonatal admissions.  

Keith Reed, CEO of Tamba, said: “The rise in multiple stillbirths as a proportion of all stillbirths is a wake-up call for the Department of Health and NHS England who must ensure that work in this area does not cease if they are to reach their target of reducing stillbirths by 50% by 2025.

“Our Maternity Unit Engagement Programme has worked with 30 obstetric units in England over the past couple of years. But Government funding for this programme ends in a couple of months and there are another 124 units that still need support.  We estimate that at least 63 babies’ lives from multiple births could be saved every year and hundreds of fewer babies ending up in neonatal care if this work is taken forward.”

There are a number of projects Tamba has been investing in, supporting, contributing to and campaigning on to make sure our multiple birth babies get the best possible care.

You can read about this work here.

The ONS website said: “The multiple maternity rate in 2017 continued to decrease for the third consecutive year, to 15.8 per 1,000 women giving birth, from 15.9 in 2016 and 16.1 in 2015. The largest increase in the multiple maternity rate was recorded between 1990 and 1995, when the rate increased by 22% from 11.6 to 14.1.

“In 2017, there were 10,462 women who gave birth to twins, 154 had triplets and five had quadruplets and above. These multiple maternities include both live births and stillbirths.”

If you want to learn more and read the full report on the ONS website, click here.

Total Number of Births in England and Wales (table created by Tamba using data from ONS)

Register with Tamba for free resources here.

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