Every year in New Zealand around 1000 couples find themselves expecting twins, triplets or occasionally even more babies.
Find out about the types of twins, the maternity care you’ll receive, what you need to think about before the birth, and where you can get help and support.
Types of twins
Identical twins develop from one fertilised egg splitting into two separate cells. Identical twins are always the same sex, so if your twins are identical you’ll have two girls or two boys and they’ll look very alike.
Non-identical twins result from two eggs being fertilised at the same time and are more common than identical twins. The babies may be the same sex or different sexes.
Your maternity care
Having twins (or more) is considered higher risk, and comes under the ‘Transfer’ category of the referral guidelines that cover maternity care.
If your maternity carer is a midwife or a doctor, they must recommend that you be referred to a specialist doctor. The responsibility for your care will be transferred to this specialist doctor. If you agree to having your care transferred, your midwife or doctor may be able to continue to provide some of your care – discuss this with them and your specialist doctor.
If your maternity carer is a specialist doctor, there will be no change to your care.
Things to think about before the birth
You need to make a few extra preparations if you’re expecting twins or more. Here’s a list of things to think about.
- An early birth. Twins and triplets are often born early. Pack your hospital bag early in your pregnancy – from around 26 weeks. Pack enough supplies for two (or more!) babies.
- Breastfeeding. It’s possible to breastfeed more than one baby – ask your midwife for advice.
- Equipment. This includes car seats, nappies, buggies, cots and clothes for each baby.
- Safe sleeping. Talk to your midwife about safe sleeping for your babies.
- Setting up your home.
- Someone to help you in the weeks after the birth. Friends and whānau may be able to help, especially if your partner is working or you have other children.
For more information about preparing for the birth and getting your home ready for your babies, see our Getting ready for baby page.
Help and support
Multiples NZ provides information and support to those who are expecting or raising twins, triplets or more children. You can also join a multiple birth club to meet other parents.
You may be able to receive support to help with the cost of raising your babies. See the Multiples NZ website to find out more.
If you are expecting or raising multiples, Multiples NZ can help you! Their mission is to address the special and unique needs of families experiencing multiple births by providing information and support to multiple birth clubs and members.