Maternal physiology and complications of multiple pregnancy

Semin Perinatol. 2005 Oct;29(5):338-48. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2005.08.002.


Approximately 1% to 3% of all pregnancies in the United States are multiple gestations. The vast majority (97-98%) are twin pregnancies. Multiple pregnancies constitute significant risk to both mother and fetuses. Antepartum complications-including preterm labor, preterm premature rupture of the membranes, intrauterine growth restriction, intrauterine fetal demise, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia-develop in over 80% of multiple pregnancies as compared with approximately 25% of singleton gestations. This article reviews in detail the maternal physiologic adaptations required to support a multiple pregnancy and the maternal complications that develop when these systems fail or are overwhelmed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetal Death / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Multiple Birth Offspring*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy, Multiple / physiology*