complications of pregnancy

Last reviewed 04/2022

These may include:

  • prematurity - twins tend to deliver at about 37 weeks, triplets at 33 weeks. Thus premature labour, defined as less than 37 weeks occurs in 20-50% of twin pregnancies
  • intrauterine growth retardation - growth of each fetus in a multiple pregnancy becomes slower than that in a singleton pregnancy after 28 weeks when the total weight of the twins is about 3.5 kg. This has an important bearing in the increased perinatal mortality especially with increased premature labour
  • pregnancy induced hypertension including eclampsia - 3 times greater than in singleton pregnancies
  • anaemia - more common only if dietary supplements such as iron and folate, and general nutrition, are not increased to meet increased fetal demand
  • polyhydramnios - occurs in 12% of twin pregnancies
  • congenital malformations - neural tube defects, heart abnormalities, incidences of Turner's and Klinefelter's syndromes are all increased. Overall, malformations occur twice as often in twin than in singleton pregnancies