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Multifetal Gestations: Twin, Triplet, and Higher-Order Multifetal Pregnancies

  • Practice Bulletin PB
  • Number 169
  • October 2016

ABSTRACT: The incidence of multifetal gestations in the United States has increased dramatically over the past several decades. The rate of twin births increased 76% between 1980 and 2009, from 18.9 to 33.3 per 1,000 births 1. The rate of triplet and higher-order multifetal gestations increased more than 400% during the 1980s and 1990s, peaking at 193.5 per 100,000 births in 1998, followed by a modest decrease to 153.4 per 100,000 births by 2009 2. The increased incidence in multifetal gestations has been attributed to two main factors: 1) a shift toward an older maternal age at conception, when multifetal gestations are more likely to occur naturally, and 2) an increased use of assisted reproductive technology (ART), which is more likely to result in a multifetal gestation 3.

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