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Development of customized fetal growth charts in twins

Published:January 05, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2016.12.176

      Background

      Twin gestations are at significantly higher risk of fetal growth restriction in comparison with singletons. Using fetal biometric charts customized for obstetrical and parental characteristics may facilitate an accurate assessment of fetal growth.

      Objective

      The objective of the study was to construct reference charts for the gestation of fetal biometric parameters stratified by chorionicity and customized for obstetrical and parental characteristics.

      Study Design

      Fetal biometric measurements obtained from serial ultrasound examinations in uncomplicated twin pregnancies delivering after 36 weeks of gestation were collected by 19 Italian fetal medicine units under the auspices of the Società Italiana di Ecografia Ostetrica e Ginecologica. The measurements acquired in each fetus at each examination included biparietal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference, and femur length. Multilevel linear regression models were used to adjust for the serial ultrasonographic measurements obtained and the clustering of each fetus in twin pregnancy. The impact of maternal and paternal characteristics (height, weight, ethnicity), parity, fetal sex, and mode of conception was also considered. Models for each parameter were stratified by fetal chorionicity and compared with our previously constructed growth curves for singletons.

      Results

      The data set included 1781 twin pregnancies (dichorionic, n = 1289; monochorionic diamniotic, n = 492) with 8923 ultrasonographic examinations with a median of 5 (range, 2–8) observations per pregnancy in dichorionic and 6 in (range, 2–11) monochorionic pregnancies. Growth curves of twin pregnancies differed from those of singletons, and differences were more marked in monochorionic twins and during the third trimester. A significant influence of parental characteristics was found.

      Conclusion

      Curves of fetal biometric measurements in twins are influenced by parental characteristics. There is a reduction in the growth rate during the third trimester. The reference limits for gestation constructed in this study may provide a useful tool for a more accurate assessment of fetal growth in twin pregnancies.

      Key words

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