( i.e. Three babies from one pregnancy)
In Finland the annual amount of births is ~ 60000, of which ~1000 are twin births and a little less than twenty are triplet births. The total population in Finland is 5,4 million.
The triplet birth rate in Finland is 10 - 15 per year. In the early 1990´s the amount of triplet pregnancies reached a higher level, because of the more advanced methods in infertility treatments. In 1992 there were 36 triplet births in Finland, which is the highest number ever. However, the number of triplets seems to be stabilizing again to the level of ~ 10 sets of triplets per year.
More than half of the triplets in 1980´s and 1990´s were the result of the infertility treatments. Spontaneously there are about ten triplet births per year in Finland.
Triplet pregnancy is a conciderable risk for the mother as well as for the babies. The mother is observed very carefully from the first weeks of pregnancy. Together with normal check-ups the pregnancy is monitored by university- or central hospital. It is not unusual that a mother, who is pregnant with triplets, spends several weeks in hospital. She is examined and monitored carefully with KTG and ultrasound. According to our survey, half of the triplet mothers had been in a hospital for one week to one month before labour. One third of the mothers spent 5 to 8 weeks in hospital before giving birth to triplets.
Almost with no exceptions the triplets are born prematurely. Most of the triplets are born on weeks 31-35. The duration of “normal” pregnancy is 40 weeks. Fortunately there are only few pregnancies that last less than 30 weeks. In Finland the rate of infant mortality is very low with triplets.
Triplets are born with c-section. The babies weight about two kilograms, some of them more, some of them less. It is very common that the triplet babies are so small and weak that they need intensive care for the first days of their lives. Usually the mother gets out of the hospital before the babies. Our survey shows that three out of four triplet babies spends one month or less after birth in hospital. The major problems with premature triplets are the immaturity of lungs (BPD), holding of the body temperature and feeding disorders.
Triplets at home
Parenting the triplets is a challenging task. Two laps are not enough for three babies, two hands can not hold three milk bottles, a day should have more than 24 hours, because there are so much to do in triplet family. Without a professional homecare assistant to help a triplet family, the parents may very soon burn out. The help of friends and relatives is also essential.
Triplet birth means also a major economical burden for the family. The babies need beds, feeding chairs, car seats, clothes, bottles, everything that a family with a baby needs, only three times the amount. The triplet family very soon needs a bigger apartment and bigger car. Using the public transportation is not possible with triplet strollers.
Life in a triplet family is filled with work and noise, joys and sorrows, cries and laughs - and with a constant lack of sleep. Yet, the babies grow bigger every day and the parents become stronger every day, and eventually, (hopefully), life gets easier day by day. Anyone who has nurtured a baby, knows what it is like. But only few know what it is like to nurture triplets. We are the few. And we are damn proud of it!