Birth Characteristics’ Impacton Future Reproduction and Morbidity Among Twins an dSingletons
Abstract: Globally, in both developed and developing countries, the twinning rates have increased since the early 70’s. A large proportion of twins are born preterm and/or small-for-gestational-age (SGA) and/or with a low birth weight. Several studies have been performed on the long-term effect of these non-optimal birth characteristics on future reproductive performance and morbidity. Yet, most studies exclude twins or higher order pregnancies and thus the findings are based on singleton pregnancies only.The aim of the present thesis was therefore to investigate the impact of non-optimal birth characteristics in terms of preterm birth, small-for-gestational age, and low birth weight, on the reproductive pattern and morbidity among twins and singletons Furthermore, the present thesis attempted to establish whether twins and singletons were affected in the same manner.The studies included in this thesis are prospective population-based register studies, including all men and women, alive and living in Sweden at age 13, who were born between 1973 and 1983 (1,000,037 singletons and 16,561 twins) for the first three studies with follow-up till the end of 2006 and 2009. The last study included all men and women, alive and living in Sweden at age 13, who were born between 1973 and 1993 (2,051,479 singletons and 39,726 twins) with follow-up till the end of 2012.In general, twins were found less likely to reproduce between 13 and 33 years of age compared with singletons. Stratifying data by different birth characteristics, it was found that twins had a lower likelihood of reproducing on several different birth characteristics (appropriate-for-gestational-age, normal birth weight, low birth weight, term birth, preterm birth). However, twins born very preterm had an increased likelihood of reproducing compared with singletons born very preterm.Not taking birth characteristics into account, twinning was associated with a higher degree of hospitalization. However, accounting for the diverging birth characteristics this difference diminished and for some diagnoses the relationship was reversed such that twins were actually less likely to be hospitalized compared with singletons.In terms of the heritability of non-optimal birth characteristics singleton mothers born preterm were more predisposed to give birth to a child that was preterm while singleton mothers born SGA more often gave birth to a child either born preterm or SGA. Among twins this heritability was not as evident. The only difference observed was among twin mothers born SGA who were more likely to give birth to a child born SGA.In the extended cohort comprising those born between 1973 and 1993, male and female twins were found to be less likely to become parents compared with singletons. No difference was found among women in terms of having a second child, while male twins were more likely to have a second child compared with male singletons. It was also found that the likelihood of becoming a first-time parent and second-time parent was positively associated with the number of siblings.
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