The present study was conducted to determine whether triplet pregnancies are associated with a significantly worse perinatal outcome than twin pregnancies. Maternal and neonatal outcome was evaluated in 15 triplet and twin pregnancies that were matched for maternal age, race, type of medical insurance, delivery mode, parity, and history of previous preterm delivery. Preterm labor occurred significantly more often in triplet than in twin gestations (80 versus 40%), as did preterm delivery (87 versus 26.7%). Triplets had a significantly lower mean birth weight (1720 versus 2475 g) and gestational age at delivery (33 versus 36.6 weeks). In addition, 53.3% of triplet pregnancies but only 6.7% of twin pregnancies had one or more neonates with intrauterine growth retardation. Discordancy also occurred more frequently in triplets than in twins (66.7 versus 13.3%). The mean averaged neonatal hospital stay was significantly higher in triplets (29 versus 8.5 days), and triplets had a fivefold increased risk of requiring neonatal intensive care as compared with twins. However, there were no significant differences between the groups in maternal morbidity or major neonatal complications such as respiratory distress syndrome or intraventricular hemorrhage. We believe that these data will be useful in counseling patients with respect to the anticipated perinatal outcome of triplet pregnancies.
(C) 1990 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists