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Risks in multiple pregnancies

Date:
October 8, 2010
Source:
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Summary:
The complication rate during pregnancy with twins is about 40 percent, according to recent studies. Women with multiple pregnancies often develop pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and hemorrhages during the term of their pregnancy. In a new review article, researchers investigate which risks can be minimized by close monitoring in multiple pregnancies.

The complication rate during pregnancy with twins is about 40%, according to recent studies. Women with multiple pregnancies often develop pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hemorrhages during the term of their pregnancy.

In a new article in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Joachim W Dudenhausen from the Charité Berlin University Medicine and Rolf F Maier from Magdeburg University Medical Center, investigate which risks can be minimized by close monitoring in multiple pregnancies.

Fourteen out of 1000 pregnancies will be multiple pregnancies, the authors note. The average term for multiple pregnancies is notably shorter (for twins, 36 weeks; for triplets, 32 weeks; and for quadruplets, 30 weeks). Causes include the greater weight carried by the pregnant woman and increased metabolism compared with a pregnancy with only one fetus. In monozygotic twins, only one placenta is present; consequently, the risk of death of one twin is higher than in dizygotic twins, where two placentas are present.

The feto-fetal transfusion syndrome affects only monozygotic twins and results in an undersupply of blood in one twin. The cause is a connecting blood vessel between the embryos, which leads to a redistribution of the blood. The treatment of choice for the syndrome is coagulation of the connecting vessel. The growth of the fetuses needs close monitoring.

The fetal growth curves of head diameter and length of femur in twins are no different from those in singletons, but towards the end of multiple pregnancies, intrauterine growth is delayed. For this reason, in multiple pregnancies the delivery should be arranged after the 38th completed week of gestation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joachim W. Dudenhausen, Rolf F. Maier. Perinatal Problems in Multiple Births. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 2010; 107 (38): 663-8 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0663

Cite This Page:

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Risks in multiple pregnancies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008105718.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. (2010, October 8). Risks in multiple pregnancies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008105718.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Risks in multiple pregnancies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008105718.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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