Sharp rise in the number of multiple birth

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The number of women who have twins and triplets is on the rise, figures show.

More than 11,000 women in England and Wales gave birth to more than one baby in 2011, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. In the decade to 2011, the “multiple maternity rate” increased by 8.8 per cent.

Of every 1,000 women who gave birth in 2011, 16.1 women had more than one baby – a rise from 15.7 in 2010, the ONS said. In 1976 the rate stood at just 9.6 women out of every 1,000.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) says that the multiple birth rate is mainly rising due to increasing use of assisted reproduction techniques. The Twins and Multiple Births Association said the figures should be a “wake up call” to maternity units.