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Hum Reprod. 1992 May;7(5):729-32.

Assessment at 1 year of the psychological consequences of having triplets.

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  • 1Epidemiological Research Unit on Women and Children's Health, INSERM U 149, Villejuif, France.


The purpose of this study was to assess the psychological difficulties encountered by mothers 1 year after the birth of triplets. Twelve mothers entered the study having delivered triplets in a public hospital in Paris. Nine pregnancies had been initiated after in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or gamete intra-Fallopian transfer (GIFT), two after ovarian stimulation and one was spontaneous. The method consisted of tape-recorded semi-structured interviews at the mothers' homes. At 1 year, a majority of mothers reported considerable fatigue and stress. In most cases, home help was no longer provided by social services or by relatives. A majority suffered from social isolation and had difficulties in going out because of a lack of help, and inquisitive looks and questions from other people. Most mothers said that having triplets placed a strain on the marital relationship. The relationship with the children was often disturbed. Mothers reported that it was difficult to give adequate attention to the three children at the same time. Most of them tended to become emotionally detached. Eight mothers expressed psychological difficulties and three of them were treated for depression. Families with triplets should be provided with increased help, special attention, counselling and support, either at home, in clubs or in special clinics.

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