The Triplets Are Coming 

20/03/2015 00:00 
The multiple births clinic at UCLH run by Dr Ruwan Wimalasundera and Dr George Attilakos was featured in the first episode of The Triplets Are Coming which aired on Thursday on ITV.

The ITV two-part documentary was given access to the clinic at the Elizabeth Garrett Andersen (EGA) wing at University College Hospital to follow the story of some of the mums pregnant with triplets, as the series focused on the fact that the number of multiple births has almost doubled over the past 30 years.

“This extraordinary rise in the multiple birth rate is not fully understood, but we think it is attributable in part to changing lifestyles but also the rising use of assisted reproduction techniques, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF),” said Ruwan.

“It is good to be able to show the work of the clinic and create more awareness about the difficulties and possible complications faced by parents expecting twins or triplets,” said George.
With around 200 sets of triplets born every year in Britain, the series allows viewers an insight into the journey faced by couples who are expecting three babies at once. It follows them at home, and at hospital, and captures the highs and the lows. The simplest things become complicated when preparing for three: where can you find a pram that seats three, how many nappies should you buy, and once they are born, how can you possibly carry them all at once?

“The biggest challenges parents face tend to relate to the fact that these pregnancies are particularly risky and unpredictable,” said Ruwan. “The lack of space is one obvious problem!”

“And it can get more complicated if two of the babies share a placenta. Mums must be scanned every week or two until delivery, to ensure that the triplets are developing as they should. And we are poised to intervene if problems develop,” said George.

Triplets tend to be born early and spend time in intensive care on neo-natal wards. The series shows how families cope with this as they look forward to being allowed to go home after several weeks in hospital.

“People say that you can’t believe how much emotion you have but it’s beyond that. It’s like every fibre in your body is just so in love with them. It’s unbelievable,” said new mum Stephanie Webb, who featured in the programme with her husband Chris. “We can't say thank you enough to the team at UCLH. Everyone we came in contact with was helpful and reassuring, and everything done with such calmness and assurance that we felt really safe. We immediately knew that our babies would be well looked after.”

Stephanie said that taking part in the documentary seemed a little daunting to begin but “the actual process was really good, it was rather cathartic, very much like having a group of friends round for a chat.”

The documentary aired on ITV at 9pm last night and continues on the 26 March. You can see the first episode by clicking on the image below.

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