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Kogan, Michael D.; Alexander, Greg R.; Kotelchuck, Milton; MacDorman, Marian F.; Buekens, Pierre; & Papiernik, Emily (2002). A Comparison of Risk Factors for Twin Preterm Birth in the United States between 1981-82 and 1996-97. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 6(1), 29-35.


Objective: This paper examines risk factors for twin preterm birth in 1981-82 and 1996-97 in the United States in order to see if they have changed over time.
Methods: We studied all U.S. twin births for the years examined (N = 346, 567). Since the gestational age distributions for twins differs from singletons, the risk of preterm birth was examined at <33, 33-34, and 35-36 weeks. Logistic regression was used to examine the contributions of sociodemographic and obstetric factors at each period.
Results: While the <33 week twin preterm rate rose 7% from 1981-82 to 1996-97, the 33-34-week rate rose 31%, and the 35-36-week rate rose 51%. Women with less education, teenagers, unmarried women, primiparas, and blacks were more likely to deliver preterm across all three preterm birth levels. However, the effect of these low socioeconomic status markers diminished over the study period. Additionally, the odds of preterm birth among blacks increased with earlier gestational ages. Women who had intensive prenatal care utilization as compared with less than adequate utilization were more likely to deliver preterm (35-36 weeks) in 1996-97 (odds ratio (OR) = 2.05) compared with 1981-82 (OR = 1.44). Smaller increases were noted for <33 and 33-34 weeks.
Conclusions: Obstetric factors appear to be playing a greater role in the rise of twin preterm births at 35-36 weeks gestation. Temporal sociodemographic changes do not explain the rise in the preterm rate. Changing clinical practices may be having unintended consequences on the public health goals of reducing preterm and low birthweight rates in the United States.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Maternal and Child Health Journal


Kogan, Michael D.
Alexander, Greg R.
Kotelchuck, Milton
MacDorman, Marian F.
Buekens, Pierre
Papiernik, Emily