Researching the experience of families with twins or triplets

Exploring the experiences of mothers and families with twins or triplets to assess their care needs.  

Researching the experience of families with twins or triplets large image


Research background

Little is known about the experiences, health and social care needs of parents of multiples. Most research involving twins and triplets has been epidemiological involving large cohort studies of children.

Research aims

The aim of this small-scale qualitative study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of mothers of parenting their twins over the first five years. The longer-term aim was to undertake larger qualitative studies of experiences, health and social care needs of parents of multiples

Research methods

A focus group was held at a Birmingham mothers/toddlers twins club to facilitate the development of a topic guide for the exploratory study. Recorded interviews were then carried out for the exploratory study with seven mothers living in the West Midlands. Participants were recruited via national multiple birth parenting organisations. The recordings were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.


The findings provided insight into the challenges and difficulties encountered by mothers of twins. For most families, the care and support they received was community-based but often did not meet their specific needs. The findings highlighted the need for community-based healthcare professionals to be better informed about the advice and support needed by multiple birth families. The findings were disseminated in the following ways:

  1. Harvey, M.E. Athi, R. Denny, E. (2014) Exploratory study on meeting the health and social care needs of mothers with twins  Community Practitioner 87 2 28 – 31   
  2. Poster at the Community Practitioner and Health Visitor conference Bournemouth 2012 (poster won first prize)
  3. Presentation at national Multiple Births Conferences: BCU Feb 2014

The findings will also be used in the delivery of BCU’s online module: ‘Providing individualised care for multiple birth families from conception to one year’.

This work was also instrumental in the establishment of the Elizabeth Bryan Multiple Births Centre at BCU in 2017 and further research (four GRTAs, two doctoral students and the health visitor focus group and national survey studies)