Creating Multiple Connections: Exploring Experiences of Multiple Births

Exploring the parenting journey of multiple birth families from pregnancy to starting school through the use of photographs in an attempt to understanding their lived experiences.


  • Nathalie Turville
  • Jane Denton
  • Liz Hingley, Anthropologist and MBF Creative Director
  • Katie MacLeod Peters, Wellbeing Coach, lived experience researcher and parent of twins

Research background

The incidence of multiple births in the United Kingdom (UK) has continued to rise. In 2018, the multiple maternity rate in England and Wales was 15.4 per 1,000 women giving birth (ONS, 2019). Although there is the perception from parents, relatives and the public that twins can be the ‘instant family’ (HFEA, 2016) there are associated health risks such as prematurity and disabilities including cerebral palsy (HFEA, 2015). Adjusting to family life and caring for more than one baby, with possible associated health problems, provides psychosocial and practical challenges for the family and families need additional support and advice from professionals due to the demands of parenting multiples. However, there is limited research into the lived experiences of multiple birth families during the early years and their perceptions of family life with young children who are multiples.

Research aims

  • Explore and describe the parenting journey of parents of multiples from pregnancy to starting school through the use of photographs.
  • Gain further understanding of the lived experiences of multiple birth families to inform the work of the EBMBC

Research methods

In order to gain insight into the experiences of multiple birth families, an exploratory qualitative study is currently being undertaken using photo-elicitation. Parent(s) of multiples aged between 4 and 6 have been invited to participate in an on-line project. The parents are provided with a personalised guide on how to choose 10 photographs that reflect their experiences as a multiple birth family. They then share these photographs and discuss the history and meaning behind each photograph. There is a final meeting that allows for a reflection on the experience.

Intended outcomes

The work will contribute to the knowledge about the complexity of the lives of multiple birth families. It will be used in part to inform the future research priorities of the Elizabeth Bryan Multiple Births Centre and contribute to the body of qualitative research that is being conducted by the EBMBC.