High-order Multiple Gestations

Semin Perinatol. 2005 Oct;29(5):305-11. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2005.08.001.


Infertility treatments have produced an increase in multiple gestations with twins accounting for 3.3% of births in the United States in 2002. Over that same time period, premature deliveries increased from 10.7% in 1992 to 12.1% in 2002. High-order multiple gestations have also increased, and virtually all of those deliver prematurely. Clinicians are facing the challenge of managing these complicated pregnancies. Neonatal outcome will primarily depend on the gestational age at delivery and the birth weight of the babies. Care is directed at aggressively and proactively preventing preterm delivery. Ultrasound assessments are made frequently to assess fetal anatomical abnormalities, nuchal translucency, fetal growth, cervical length, amniotic fluid, and biophysical profile. Stress reduction and activity reduction will decrease uterine activity, and tocolytic drugs are employed to decrease background contractions to reduce preterm labor (PTL). Fetal fibronectin testing helps predict risk of PTL, and magnesium sulfate tocolysis is used in aggressive dosing to arrest PTL if it occurs. Outcomes are presented and discussed. Successful outcomes are not only possible, but probable.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Multiple Birth Offspring*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy, Multiple*
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control
  • Tocolytic Agents / therapeutic use


  • Tocolytic Agents