Multiple pregnancies: how to prepare for the arrival of several babies?

Grossesse multiple : comment se préparer à l’arrivée de plusieurs bébés ?

Since the 1970s, the number of twin pregnancies has been on the rise. Expecting triplets or quadruplets, however, remains less frequent. A multiple pregnancy is an event that requires much moreanticipation and preparation than a single gestation. Are you carrying several babies and would like to know what to expect ? Here's a closer look at multiple pregnancy.

What is a multiple pregnancy?

A multiple or multifetal pregnancy refers to a pregnancy during which several fetuses develop simultaneously in the uterine cavity. This can be a twin pregnancytriplet, quadruplet and so on.

Twin pregnancy

The most common type of multiple birth is that involving twins. Every year, more than 3.2 million twins are born around the world. These babies are :

  • Identical twins ", born from a single ovum fertilized by a single spermatozoon;
  • Or " fraternal twins " conceived from two separate eggs and two separate sperm cells (who do not look alike).

Pregnancy of triplets

Pregnancy with triplets is a rarer phenomenon. A woman pregnant with three babies will give birth to :

  • True triplets ", developed from a single egg and a single sperm cell;
  • False triplets " from three eggs fertilized by three sperm;
  • Or two twins and a different baby (in this case, two sperm cells fused with two eggs, then one of the two embryos formed split in two).

Pregnancy with quadruplets or more

Multi-fetal pregnancies of quadruplets, quintuplets or more are much less frequent. In France, they concern around ten births a year. A woman expecting four children will thus give birth to "true quadruplets", "false quadruplets" or two pairs of "identical twins".

What are the chances of having a multiple pregnancy?

A high-order multiple pregnancy (beyond two embryos) is still quite exceptional. Spontaneous triplet and quadruplet pregnancies account for less than 10% of this type of gestation.

Most are the result of ovarian stimulation or in vitro fertilization (IVF ), involving the transfer of several embryos into the woman's uterus. Future parents undergoing MAP (Medically Assisted Reproduction) have a 2.5% probability of having triplets or quadruplets.

The chances of a natural multiple-fetal pregnancy also increase with age. Women aged 35 to 39 are more likely to have a multiple pregnancy, as their ovaries tend to release several eggs at the same time.

What are the symptoms of multiple pregnancy?

Certain pregnancy symptoms are sometimes exacerbated in multiple pregnancies. A woman pregnant with several children, whose body works much harder, may suffer from :

  • Violent nausea due to higher beta-hCG (gonadotropic chorionic hormone) levels;
  • a much greater weight gain gestation;
  • intense fatigue (exhaustion, drowsiness, etc.).

Is a multiple pregnancy risky?

Although a multiple pregnancy is similar to a single pregnancy, it entails greater health risks for both mother and children.

The mother-to-be is more likely to suffer from :

  • Iron anemia (since maternal blood volume is greater than in a single gestation, the body will use more iron to produce red blood cells);
  • Arterial hypertension or pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure associated with high protein levels in the urine), due to her accelerated heart rate;
  • of glycosuria in the urinea sign of gestational diabetes.

Various complications can also affect future babies:

  • Triplets and quadruplets are at greater risk of developing birth defects and intrauterine growth retardation.
  • They are usually born prematurely, due to a more rapid increase in the volume of the mother's uterus.
  • If the children share the same amniotic sac, their umbilical cords can become entangled , interrupting blood circulation.
  • Some "true" triplets and quadruplets can develop transfusion-transfusion syndrome, or TTS (one fetus receives more blood than the others, putting them all at risk).

What is the medical follow-up for a multiple pregnancy?

A high-order multiple pregnancy requires closer medical monitoring than a single pregnancy. If you're expecting triplets or quadruplets, you need to consult a specialized obstetrician-gynecologist.

He or she will suggest more frequent medical appointments and examinations. Regular medical check-ups will help reduce the risk of premature birth andavoid many complications. Monthly or fortnightly ultrasound scans are also essential to ensure that your baby develops properly throughout the pregnancy.

How does a multi-baby birth work?

Thedelivery of several babies generally takes place in a level 3 maternity hospital. This type of facility specializes in the care of multiple and pathological pregnancies. In particular, it has a neonatal intensive care unit that can take care of newborns if necessary.

Pregnant women with triplets or quadruplets are delivered by Caesarean section. If the pregnancy is going well, and the water won't break prematurely, the medical profession schedules the operation at around 36 weeks' amenorrhea.

During a multiple pregnancy, themother-to-be's uterus becomes very relaxed and contracts less easily. The placenta may also be poorly positioned. The risk of haemorrhage during delivery is also higher. A Caesarean section therefore enables the medical team to get the babies out quickly and to better monitor the pregnant woman's condition.

Our tips for preparing for the arrival of triplets or quadruplets!

Thearrival of triplets or quadruplets is an important event that will turn your daily life upside down. To prepare yourself properly, we recommend that you not only take it easy during your pregnancy, but alsoplan for the post-delivery period.

Taking care of yourself during pregnancy

In the case of a high-profile multiple pregnancy, it's essential for the mother-to-be to take care of herself and get some rest. Pregnant women with several children are more prone to fatigue, shortness of breath and heavy weight. They therefore benefit from a longer maternity leave of 24 weeks before the expected date of delivery.

However, they are not condemned to lying in bed! If their pregnancy is uncomplicated, they can continue their daily activities while listening to their body.

Preparing for the post-delivery period

To make the most of the post-delivery period with triplets or quadruplets, we advise you to get organized beforehand. You can start preparing the bedroom and stocking up on childcare equipment and essential clothing as soon as your maternity leave begins. The arrival of several babies in a family requires a substantial budget. To keep costs down, consider buying second-hand, renting or having items lent to you.

Finally, don't hesitate to ask family and friends for help. They can bring you cooked meals, do some housework or take care of bottle-feeding and diaper changes. The CAF also offers means-tested financial assistance for multiple births. If you are eligible, you will receive this automatically after the birth.

Multiple pregnancy FAQ

What is the world record for multiple pregnancies?

In 2021, a South African woman named Gosiame Thamara Sithole gave birth to 10 children! She gave birth at 7 months, 5 by vaginal delivery and a further 5 by Caesarean section. She now holds the record for the world's largest multiple pregnancy.

At what age are multiple pregnancies most likely?

From the age of 35, the probability of having a natural multiple pregnancy increases. Between the ages of 35 and 39, it's around 13/1000, i.e. a risk multiplied by 2.2 compared to a 20-year-old. Older women are more likely to have double or triple ovulations.

More articles

Back to blog

Our best sellers

1 of 8

The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.