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30 years of Multiple Births in New Zealand

That was Then….This is Now

30 years of Multiple Births in New Zealand

Imagine being 8 months pregnant and lying on your stomach for 20 minutes while medical professionals undertake a routine x-ray, only to find out that you were going to be welcoming multiples into the world almost any day now! That was a reality just 30 years ago in New Zealand.

Our information tells us that 30 years ago there was very little information or support available for parents expecting multiples. In response to this local Multiple Birth Clubs throughout New Zealand called for the support of a national body and the New Zealand Multiple Birth Association (NZMBA) was established.

Families were different thirty years ago; life was simpler but information was harder to access. Parents were not bombarded with such a minefield of information and this was reflected in the freedom experienced by their children. Twins were often dressed the same with girls tending to wear pretty frilly dresses, and there were less multiple births making twins a unique novelty. Because of this twins were often kept as a close unit and identities were often shared.

Medical science has undertaken huge developments over the past 30 years. Today multiple pregnancies are diagnosed far earlier and there are an increased number of successful multiple births and fertility treatments are prevalent. This is reflected in the statistics, which show that multiple births have increased by over 70% during this period. 30 years ago mothers were having their children younger and families were also much larger

Like information, equipment has also become much more widely available – to the extent that parents now have the option of being selective in their purchases. Some safety devices have become mandatory, and others are exceptionally popular, especially in the areas of safe sleeping, safety around the home, and safety in transport – it was not uncommon for children to be placed in a bassinet in the backseat with no seat belt 30 years ago, or placed into a ‘playroom’ with the door shut while Mum prepared dinner!

Financially, families continue to make ends meet, with most opting for cheap, quick and easy family meals. This is also reflected in the types of activities families enjoy participating in. It is interesting to note however that what was a ‘special day out’ to the beach or the park 30 years ago has now become an almost daily trip with families tending to consider overseas travel a viable more exciting option these days.

This year the NZMBA is celebrating the provision of 30 years worth of support to parents who are experiencing the unique and special task of raising multiples, commencing with its annual conference held in Christchurch in early October. Keep an eye on your local media to see the various awareness week events in your wider communities during the last week of September! Multiple birth children may be more common these days but there are still extra challenges and rewards in raising them – So, which decade would you rather be in?

To find out more about your local multiple birth club contact the NZMBA at www.nzmba,.org or phone 0800 4 TWINS ETC.


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