BBC Leeds invited me to comment today on the recent birth of triplets to a 55 year old woman from Lincolnshire. Here are my thoughts on this…
While there are inherent risks to mother and baby with every pregnancy those risks increase with age. There are also far higher risks to both mum and babies with triplet pregnancies and birth than for twin and single babies.
But whose decision is it to become pregnant at 55? It’s my view that the decision should always rest with the mother. However, with the level of complications that can occur in a triplet pregnancy and birth for a mother of 55 years of age it is vitally important that all of those risks have been fully discussed and understood. Then, and only then, can we be sure that she has made a fully informed decision.
When it comes to the actual birth most triplets are born by caesarean section and usually before 40 weeks. Because the babies are normally smaller and earlier than those born at term they always require the attention of a specialist team in the operating theatre, with one team for each baby too. Add in the midwives (there will usually be more than one) and together with the surgeons, anaesthetic staff, circulating staff, the operating theatre will be quite busy. Triplet babies are usually born quickly – within a minute of each other! And that doesn’t give midwives much time to organise everything.
The hardest part for this new Mum (I can only imagine) will be when all four and at home. But there are fabulous organisations, such as the Twin and Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA) who are a great source of information.