Having twins may seem like a dream come true to some parents, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Raising one small child at a time is difficult enough, but raising two is an entirely different kettle of fish. According to one report by Twins Research Australia, multi-birth families can face some serious challenges and disadvantages compared to single-birth families. The study, published by the University of Melbourne, unearthed some interesting facts.
Not only do expectant parents face risks throughout pregnancy including premature birth, but children are also at a greater risk for infant development delays and special needs. Let's not forget the financial implication that comes with having two or more children at the same time. One lot of everything is costly enough, but having to buy double or triple the amount of diapers, bottles and other necessities can have a devastating impact. Instances of multi-births have doubled in Australia alone over the last 40 years, leaping from 4740 in 1975 to 9056 in 2017.
Despite the whopping 91 percent increase, researchers involved in the project believe they have identified one glaring problem: services simply aren't keeping up. Honorary Fellow Cristie Bolch from the Murdoch Children's Insitute says that families "experience disadvantage" at every point of contact in the Australian health system. Other challenges like social isolation, mental health issues, and infant bereavement aren't catered for due to lack of funding, Bolch argues.
Director of the study, John Hopper, thinks this has to change. Among other things, he says the study has identified the effects that staggered discharge from hospital and multiple premature births have on families. These situations can cause financial hardship, as well as great emotional distress for new parents.
The study hasn't simply picked up the problems but also proposes ways in which these gaps can be closed. Through proper research, suggest Hopper, and improved education for professionals and parents, things may start to improve for multi-birth families.
The project was a collaboration between Twins Research Australia and the Twins and Multiple Births Association, UK. Armed with this new research, those at the helm hope they can make a difference.