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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Jan;188(1):220-7.

Cesarean delivery for twins: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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  • 1Maternal Infant and Reproductive Health Research Unit at the Centre for Research in Women's Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether a policy of planned cesarean section or vaginal delivery is better for twins.


We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE from 1980 through May 2001 using combinations of the following terms: twin, delivery, cesarean section, vaginal birth, birth weight, and gestational age. Studies that compared planned cesarean section to planned vaginal birth for babies weighing at least 1500 g or reaching at least 32 weeks' gestation were included. We computed pooled odds ratios for perinatal or neonatal mortality, low 5-minute Apgar score, neonatal morbidity, and maternal morbidity. The infant was the unit of statistical analysis. Results were considered statistically significant if the 95% CI did not encompass 1.0.


We retrieved 67 articles, 63 of which were excluded. Four studies with a total of 1932 infants were included in the analysis. A low 5-minute Apgar score occurred less frequently in twins delivered by planned cesarean section (odds ratio, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.26-0.88) principally because of a reduction among twins if twin A was in breech position (odds ratio, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.17-0.65). Twins delivered by planned cesarean section spent significantly longer in the hospital (mean difference, 4.01 days; 95% CI, 0.73-7.28 days). There were no significant differences in perinatal or neonatal mortality, neonatal morbidity, or maternal morbidity.


Planned cesarean section may decrease the risk of a low 5-minute Apgar score, particularly if twin A is breech. Otherwise, there is no evidence to support planned cesarean section for twins.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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