Perinatal mental health

Welcome to AMBA's perinatal mental health information page for families with multiples.

While it has been estimated that at least one in ten pregnant women in Australia suffers from depression and/or anxiety (1) there is consistent evidence that the emotional health of mothers of multiple infants is poorer and they are at higher risk of becoming depressed, anxious and clinically exhausted after childbirth than mothers of single infants. Research has shown that mothers of twins experience rates of clinical anxiety are three times higher than among mothers of singletons and rates of depression five times higher (2). Even higher rates of depression have been reported among mothers of triplets (3).

While parenting multiples is a joy, there are also many challenges such as:

  • The time and intensity of caretaking multiple babies – and sometimes balancing this with older siblings
  • Less and more fragmented sleep
  • Relationship stress
  • Financial strain – more babies mean more resources are needed and returning to work can be difficult
  • Increased risk of perinatal medical complications
  • The challenge of establishing breastfeeding

It is so important to seek help. Our suggestions are to:

  1. Austin M-P, Highet N and the Expert Working Group (2017)  Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline. Melbourne: Centre of Perinatal Excellence. 
  2. Hay, D. A., Gleeson, C., Davies, C., Lorden, B., Mitchell, D., & Paton, L. (1990). What information should the multiple birth family receive before, during and after the birth? Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae, 39, 259–269.
  3. Robin, M., Bydlowski, M., Cahen, F., & Josse, D. (1991). Maternal reactions to the birth of triplets. Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae, 40, 41–51