While considered higher risk, most multiple pregnancies have positive outcomes for mothers and babies. However, women who have multiple births, and their babies, are at increased risk of certain conditions, including preeclampsia, anaemia, gestational diabetes, post-partum haemorrhage, pre-term birth, low birthweight, twin–twin transfusion syndrome and developmental delay (Twins Research Australia 2019).
Families with multiple births may also experience financial stress, social isolation, and difficulties in accessing appropriate early parenting education (Twins Research Australia 2019). The socioeconomic implications of multiple births are important due to the disadvantage experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, however there may also be protective factors related to community and family connections.
In 2020, 97% (14,167) of babies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers were singletons, 2.9% (428) were twins and 0.1% (10) were other multiples (these proportions were the same or similar for babies of non-Indigenous mothers).
Over time, the proportion of babies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers who were part of a multiple birth (combined twins and other multiples) has remained relatively stable, ranging from 2.3% to 3.1%, between 2005 and 2020.
Twins Research Australia (TRA) (2019) Multiple perspectives: what support do multiple birth families need to live happy and healthy lives, Melbourne: TRA, The University of Melbourne, accessed 19 October 2022.