Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Twins Trust report warns babies’ lives are being put at risk

The BeCOME report (Better Care of Multiples – an Exploration) reveals how babies from a twin or triplet birth are still not getting the correct level of care from many NHS hospitals and that staff are failing to follow multiple birth guidance set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The BeCOME report is an important piece of work from Twins Trust. It sampled more than 1,000 parents of twins and triplets about their experiences and perceptions of maternity services implementation and the resulting data show large variations in clinical practice and care across all parts of the UK. The contents of the report provide evidence that there is no room for complacency about the care of women with multiple pregnancies; healthcare services need to provide uniformity of care to facilitate a reduction of perinatal mortality and morbidity. One variation to highlight is the need for care by multidisciplinary teams, including involvement of neonatologists antenatally and facilitating continuity of carer throughout the pregnancy, intrapartum and postnatal journey.

Headlines from the BeCOME report

  • The number of parents seeing a specialist consultant has fallen

  • With twin and triplet pregnancies classed as high risk, often resulting in prematurity, 35% did not discuss how they wanted to deliver their babies before 32 weeks

  • Many parents did not feel prepared for prematurity with only 28% having a discussion about the risks and signs of preterm labour before 24 weeks. This is often a sign that a unit doesn’t have a specialist team looking after multiple pregnancies

  • 36% of professionals felt advice about prematurity could be improved

  • Of those parents whose babies required neonatal care, only 38% were offered the chance to visit the neonatal unit before the birth, although overall satisfaction with neonatal care was high

  • More than half surveyed saw the same consultant all or most of the time, 52% saw the same midwife all or most of the time and a quarter saw the same sonographer all or most of the time, which shows a lack of continuity of care.

Keith Reed, CEO at Twins Trust says: “This report shows that opportunities to save twin and triplet babies’ lives are being repeatedly missed. What’s worrying is it’s almost a decade since the NICE guidance showing how good care can be delivered was published. But this report shows huge gaps in maternity units delivering care in this way. There are no excuses left for hospitals not to change.”

Download the report from the healthcare professionals resources section on the Twins Trust website.