Characteristics, management and outcomes of very preterm triplets in 19 European regions.


Objective: To describe obstetrical care and in-hospital outcomes in very preterm triplet pregnancies in a European multiregional cohort.

Methods: Data from a prospective population-based study of very preterm births between 22 + 0 and 31 + 6 weeks of gestation in 19 regions from 11 European countries participating in the EPICE project in 2011/2012 were used to describe triplet pregnancies and compare them with twins and singletons.

Results: Triplets constituted 1.1% of very preterm pregnancies (97/8851) and 3.3% of very preterm live births (258/7900); these percentages varied from 0% to 2.6% and 0% to 6% respectively across the regions. In-hospital mortality after live birth was 12.4% and did not differ significantly from singletons or twins or by birth order. However, 28.9% of mothers with a triplet pregnancy experienced at least one neonatal death. Ninety percent of live-born triplets were delivered by cesarean. Vaginal delivery was associated with an Apgar score of less than 7, but not with in-hospital mortality.

Conclusions: The prevalence of very preterm triplets varies across European regions. Most triplets were born by cesarean and those born vaginally had lower Apgar scores. Overall, in-hospital mortality after live birth was similar to singletons and twins.