Prognosis for twins with birth weight less than 1500 gm: the impact of cesarean section in relation to fetal presentation

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Aug;163(2):528-33. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(90)91190-n.


The purpose of this study of twins weighing less than 1500 gm was to evaluate the impact of cesarean section on intrapartum and neonatal mortality, as well as on cerebral palsy and mental retardation. National data held at the Medical Birth Registry was used for identification of cases. The original medical records were retrieved for 862 such twins born between 1973 and 1983. Twins with cerebral palsy and/or mental retardation born between 1973 and 1980 were identified by questionnaires to all rehabilitation centers for disabled children, offices for the Provision of Care for the Mentally Retarded, and to all local Boards of Education throughout Sweden. The analyses, including calculation of relative risk and 95% confidence interval, were performed after stratification for birth weight (250 gm classes) and period of delivery (1973 to 1976, 1977 to 1980, 1981 to 1983). The cesarean section rate increased from 7.7% (1973 to 1976), and 40.5% (1977 to 1980) to 68.9% (1981 to 1983). Concomitantly, intrapartum and neonatal mortality decreased markedly (51.7% to 29.1%) particularly for twin II but to a much lesser extent for twin I. The relative risk for intrapartum and neonatal mortality (vaginal/abdominal birth) did not increase significantly for twin I in vertex presentation (relative risk 2.0, 95% confidence limits 0.9 to 4.3), for twin I in breech presentation (relative risk 1.8, 95% confidence limits 0.7 to 4.3), for twin II in vertex presentation (relative risk 0.6, 95% confidence limits 0.2 to 1.6), or for twin II in breech presentation (relative risk 1.5, 95% confidence limits 0.7 to 3.0). The rate of cerebral palsy and/or mental retardation was 8.8% during 1973 to 1976 and 8.0 during 1977 to 1980 (chi 2 = 0.1, p greater than 0.05). For twins born in breech presentation the handicap rate in the first period (cesarean section rate 6.0%) was the same as in the second period (cesarean section rate 59.6%). The analysis failed to reveal any significant impact of abdominal birth on the fetal outcome for low-birth-weight twins, even when fetal presentation was taken into consideration.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Diseases in Twins / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • Labor Presentation*
  • Morbidity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Twins*