National Multiple Births Awareness Day in Canada Date in the current year: May 28, 2024

National Multiple Births Awareness Day in Canada National Multiple Births Awareness Day (NMBAD) is observed in Canada on May 28 every year. It was created to bring together the Canadian multiple birth community and raise awareness of the challenges that parents of multiples and multiples themselves may face.

A multiple birth is the delivery of more than one baby following a pregnancy where the mother was carrying two or more fetuses. Multiple births are common in most kinds of mammals, but rare in humans. Twins (two offspring produced by the same pregnancy) are the most common form of multiple birth in human, whereas higher order (3+) multiple births are exceedingly rare.

Multiples (babies from multiple-birth pregnancies) are commonly born preterm; premature birth and low birth weight are associated with a higher risk of cerebral palsy, behavioral difficulties, and other complications. Parents and caregivers of multiples face unique challenges such as difficulty bonding with one ore more of their babies, difficulty establishing a breastfeeding routine, isolation, mental health struggles, and others, so it is very important for them to have a strong support network and access to all the resources they may need.

National Multiple Births Awareness Day was launched in 2005 by Multiple Births Canada (MBC), a registered charity focused on the well-being of multiple birth children and their parents and caregivers. It fulfills its mission by providing support, education, research, and advocacy at both national and international levels.

NMBAD is observed on May 28 to commemorate the birthday of the Dionne quintuplets, who were the first quintuplets known to survive to adulthood. The Dionne girls were born on May 28, 1934 on a farmhouse near Corbeil, Ontario. Their mother was only 24 years old, but she and her husband already had five older children. The quintuplets were delivered by Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe with the help of two midwives; they were named Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie.

After four months with their family, the Dionne quintuplets were transferred into the custody of the Red Cross. Less than a year later, the provincial government passed the Dionne Quintuplets’ Guardianship Act, 1935, making them wards of the Crown until they turn 18. The Ontario provincial government turned the quintuplets into a significant tourist attraction and began profiting from them. In 1942, the Dionnes regained custody of the girls, but struggled to reintegrate them into the family. The quintuplets left the family home upon turning 18 and didn’t maintain much contact with their parents afterwards.

The successful birth and lives of the Dionne quintuplets attracted worldwide attention but their story is bittersweet because they were deprived of developing strong relationships with their parents and siblings during their formative years. This is why their birthday was chosen as the date of NMBAD: the main goal of the observance is to raise awareness of the unique challenges that multiple birth families face and highlight the importance of providing them with the support and resources they so desperately need.

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National Multiple Births Awareness Day, observances in Canada, multiple birth, multiple pregnancy, Dionne quintuplets