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Complications Affecting the Mother and Fetuses in Multiple Pregnancy

There are pregnancy problems that can be more likely with a multiple pregnancy. For this reason, it's important to get regular prenatal exams. They are important both for monitoring your own health and your fetus's health and for giving you and your health professional time to build a working relationship.

In multiple pregnancy, the risk can be higher for:

  • Miscarriage of one or more fetuses.
  • Early birth (preterm birth), which occurs in:1
    • 50% of twin pregnancies.
    • 92% of triplet pregnancies.
    • Over 95% of quadruplet pregnancies.
    For more information, see the topics Preterm Labor and Premature Infant.
  • Preeclampsia , which occurs in:1
    • 10% to 12% of twin pregnancies.
    • 25% to 60% of triplet pregnancies.
    • Over 60% of quadruplet pregnancies.
    For more information, see the topic Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy.
  • Gestational diabetes , which occurs in:1
    • 5% to 8% of twin pregnancies.
    • 7% of triplet pregnancies.
    • Over 10% of quadruplet pregnancies.
    For more information, see the topic Gestational Diabetes.
  • Problems with the placenta, such as placenta abruptio or placenta previa. For more information, see the topics Placenta Abruptio and Placenta Previa.
  • Increased chance of cesarean delivery.
  • Heavy maternal blood loss can occur before, during, and after delivery.
  • Anemia .
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) , which are more common in multiple pregnancies than in pregnancies with one fetus.
  • Excess amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios), which increases the risk of preterm birth.

Citations

  1. Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (2012). Multiple gestation associated with infertility therapy: An American Society for Reproductive Medicine practice committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility, 97(4): 825–834.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Last Revised June 21, 2013

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