Percentage of all live births that are multiple births, Canada, 2009 to 2013

*Multiple births includes the birth of twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets or more.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 102-4513 – Live births, weeks of gestation indicators, by characteristics of the mother and child, Canada, annual (percent unless otherwise noted). -accessed June 20, 2017.

In 2013, there were 12,543 multiple births* in Canada – they accounted for 3.3% of all live births.

That proportion had not changed since 2009.

However, in 2001 that proportion was 2.1%.1

1Facts and Stats: Multiple Births in Canada, Vanier Institute for the Family Transition, Volume 44, Number 1.


As a result of multiple births, both the mothers and babies may be at increased risk of health problems. Mothers are more likely to have preterm labour, cesarean birth, blood pressure problems/pre-eclampsia and anemia.1 The infants are at higher risk of low birth weight, pre-term birth, being small for gestational age and perinatal death.2 The increase seen in multiple births between the 2000s and 2010s is considered a result of increased use of fertility treatments and increasing maternal age.3

1Multiple Births Canada. Multiple Births: The Possible Risks. Part 1: Risks for the Mother. 2011. – accessed June 20, 2017.
2Multiple Births Canada. Multiple Births: The Possible Risks. Part 2: Risks to the Children. 2011. – accessed June 20, 2017.
3Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Perinatal Health Report, 2008 Edition. Ottawa, 2008. – accessed June 20, 2017.