Q: What are the most common complications and maternal risks of a multiple pregnancy?

A: Complications can occur during any pregnancy, but a higher incidence of complications occurs during higher-order multiple pregnancies, and the number and nature of the complications typically depend on gestation (the number of weeks pregnant).

Not all expectant mothers of multiples experience complications, but the vast majority of mothers expecting triplets or more experience some complications, and the most common is preterm labor.

For respondents to the our Medical Birth Survey, the most common complications during their higher-order multiple pregnancy were:

  • 55% preterm labor
  • 29% hypertension related complications (pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), toxemia, preeclampsia, etc.)
  • 23% vaginal bleeding
  • 18% anemia
  • 18% carpal tunnel syndrome
  • 14% gestational diabetes
  • 13% infection
  • 12% prolonged rupture of membranes
  • 11% severe itching (PUPPPS, cholestasis, rash)

Other possible complications in a higer-order multiple pregnancy can include HELLP Syndrome, Twin-to-Twin Tansfusion Syndrome, Intrauterine Growth Restriction, unequal sharing of the placenta, and others.

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