Back to browse results
Early neonatal mortality in twin pregnancy: Findings from 60 low- and middle-income countries
Authors: Saverio Bellizzi, Howard Sobel, Ana Pilar Betran, and Marleen Temmerman
Source: Journal of Global Health, 8(1): 010404; DOI: 10.7189/jogh.08.010404
Topic(s): Cesarean section
Neonatal mortality
Pregnancy outcomes
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: JUN 2018
Abstract: Background Around the world, the incidence of multiple pregnancies reaches its peak in the Central African countries and often represents an increased risk of death for women and children because of higher rates of obstetrical complications and poor management skills in those countries. We sought to assess the association between twins and early neonatal mortality compared with singleton pregnancies. We also assessed the role of skilled birth attendant and mode of delivery on early neonatal mortality in twin pregnancies. Methods We conducted a secondary analysis of individual level data from 60 nationally-representative Demographic and Health Surveys including 521 867 singleton and 14 312 twin births. We investigated the occurrence of deaths within the first week of life in twins compared to singletons and the effect of place and attendance at birth; also, the role of caesarean sections against vaginal births was examined, globally and after countries stratification per caesarean sections rates. A multi-level logistic regression was used accounting for homogeneity within country, and homogeneity within twin pairs. Results Early neonatal mortality among twins was significantly higher when compared to singleton neonates (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 7.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 7.0-8.3) in these 60 countries. Early neonatal mortality was also higher among twins than singletons when adjusting for birth weight in a subgroup analysis of those countries with data on birth weight (n = 20; less than 20% of missing values) (aOR = 2.8; 95% CI = 2.2-3.5). For countries with high rates (>15%) of caesarean sections (CS), twins delivered vaginally in health facility had a statistically significant (aOR = 4.8; 95% CI = 2.4-9.4) increased risk of early neonatal mortality compared to twins delivered through caesarean sections. Home twin births without SBA was associated with increased mortality compared with delivering at home with SBA (aOR = 1.3; 95% CI = 1.0-1.8) and with vaginal birth in health facility (aOR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.4-2.0). Conclusions Institutional deliveries and increased access of caesarian sections may be considered for twin pregnancies in low- and middleincome countries to decrease early adverse neonatal outcomes.