Reaching Out to Canada's Multiple-Birth Community
Multiple Births Canada
November 13, 2011
Small (up to $50K)
Multiple pregnancies are high-risk, and while multiples represent only 1 in 34 births, they account for:
- 1 in 5 preterm births,
- 1 in 4 low birth-weight births, and
- 1 in 3.5 very low birth-weight births.
Families with twins or higher order multiples have unique needs. While babies are a special gift to a family, with multiples there is a greater risk of immediate and long-term health risks, plus substantial social, emotional and other consequences for the family.
Compared to single born babies, multiple-birth infants are at greater risk of suffering from long-term disability, particularly cerebral palsy, and dying during the first year - infant death is 4 to 5 times more likely to occur among multiple births than among singleton births.
Even when the babies are healthy, many parents experience overwhelming challenges in feeding, caring for and transporting two, three or more infants.
As multiple-birth children grow, they are also more likely to experience slower language development, behavioural disorders, challenges in school, and relationship difficulties.
If unprepared and unsupported, many new parents of multiples feel overwhelmed, sleep deprived and fatigued from the unrelenting demands of caring for the babies. This can lead to feelings of sadness and depression.
MBC currently provides support to Canada’s multiple-birth community online at www.multiplebirthscanada.org. However, it is a unilingual website that is in dire need of an update as it was developed in 2003-2004.
Using the AVIVA funding we'll revitalize the MBC site to make it:
- Bilingual - fully translated to French
- Easier to navigate
- More comprehensive with additional educational material
The specific needs and challenges of multiple-births are not unique to one region of Canada or a particular population of our country.
With a newly simplified website, MBC will increase the capacity of local not-for-profit community organizations to support and educate multiple-birth families in their communities using MBC resources. Our goal is to make more resources available for free and electronically, thereby improving access to all multiple-birth families in Canada.
_"Multiple Births Canada and the local Barrie [Chapter] was my life-saver when I found out that I was pregnant with 3 babies. Both did their best to answer all my questions and supported me thru an early, scary birth then 16 years of further moral support. Thanks MBC, and local clubs for every word and hand you give, it truly is a blessing."_
Candi Cuppage, mother of triplets
Every year, over 12,000 multiple-birth babies are born in Canada.
Canada’s multiple-birth community is growing which is attributed to the following:
- With many couples delaying having a family, mothers are older and are more prone to experience a multiple pregnancy;
- With infertility on the rise, many couples are turning to fertility clinics to assist them, with the high risk of conceiving multiples as a result; and,
- Women with a pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater are at a significantly increased risk of conceiving dizygotic (fraternal) multiples.
It is possible to reduce the risks and associated costs, and to improve health outcomes and the functioning of families by linking multiple-birth families with appropriate supports and services. This includes providing Canada’s growing multiple-birth community, regardless of where they live (many families live in remote areas), with educational resources that address their concerns as quickly and easily as possible.
**The new MBC website will make a difference by providing:**
1. Health care professionals with information needed to inform families who consider infertility treatments about the known risks of a multiple pregnancy, multifetal reduction, and parenting demands before starting treatments;
2. Women expecting multiples and their medical support team information about early diagnosis of the multiple pregnancy (before 16 weeks) in order to :
- Identify monozygotic (identical) multiples sharing a single placenta (monochorionic)
- Put into place an appropriate obstetrical care management plan
- Get early nutritional counseling and address specific dietary needs
- Provide education regarding preterm labour
Who we are
Since 1978 MBC has been the only Canadian national support organization for multiple-birth families and individuals - www.multiplebirthscanada.org.
MBC has many volunteers who serve in their local Chapters and at the national level to reach out to all parents of multiples across Canada. The goal of every volunteer is to help make a difference in the lives of another family experiencing the joy and challenges of having multiples.
**Please help us to help these families. Please VOTE for this idea.**