Background Multiple pregnancies are an increasing entity worldwide. This is associated with an increase in the number of pregnancies complicated by preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction, which in turn results in higher infant mortality and morbidity rates. An increased risk of cerebral palsy in multiples has been reported, being higher the higher the number of foetuses.
Aims and methods The primary aim of our retrospective study was to determine two year outcomes of triplets and quadruplets born in the Coombe Women and Infants University hospital (CWIUH) over a ten year period and in particular the need for early intervention services. A retrospective chart review of all triplets and quadruplets born between January 2002 and December 2011 was performed.
Results 125 infants from triplet pregnancies and eight infants from quadruplet pregnancies were live born in CWIUH during this period. One chart was unavailable for analysis. Therefore 132 infants were included in the study. Median gestational age was 33+2 (26+2 to 36+2) weeks. Median birth weight was 1800 (620 to 2960) g. The median length of stay in our neonatal unit was 23 (0 to 91) days. Two babies died at two months of age. Four (3%) were referred to early intervention services, one with spastic quadriplegia and three with mild left hemiplegia. Eleven (8%) were followed up by a community paediatrician following discharge from the neonatal clinic at two years of age.
Conclusion To our knowledge this is the first study to look at the outcomes of triplets and quadruplets in Ireland. Our outcomes are similar to those reported in the international literature which quotes an incidence of cerebral palsy in triplets of approximately 4%.