Planned Cesarean or planned vaginal delivery for twins: secondary analysis of randomized controlled trial

the Twin Birth Study Collaborative Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate whether there is a differential benefit of planned Cesarean delivery (CD) over planned vaginal delivery (VD) in women with a twin pregnancy and the first twin in cephalic presentation, depending on prespecified baseline maternal and pregnancy characteristics, and/or gestational age (GA) at delivery. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of the Twin Birth Study, which included 2804 women with a twin pregnancy and the first twin (Twin A) in cephalic presentation between 32 + 0 and 38 + 6 weeks' gestation at 106 centers in 25 countries. Women were assigned randomly to either planned CD or planned VD. The main outcome measure was composite adverse perinatal outcome, defined as the occurrence of perinatal mortality or serious neonatal morbidity in at least one twin. The baseline maternal and pregnancy characteristics (markers) considered were maternal age, parity, history of CD, use of antenatal corticosteroids, estimated fetal weight (EFW) of Twin A, EFW of Twin B, > 25% difference in EFW between the twins, presentation of Twin B, chorionicity on ultrasound, method of conception, complications of pregnancy, ruptured membranes at randomization and GA at randomization. Separate logistic regression models were developed for each marker in order to model composite adverse perinatal outcome as a function of the specific marker, planned delivery mode and the interaction between these two terms. In addition, multivariable logistic regression analysis with backward variable elimination was performed separately in each arm of the trial. The association between planned mode of delivery and composite adverse perinatal outcome, according to GA at delivery, was assessed using logistic regression analysis. Results: Of the 2804 women initially randomized, 1391 were included in each study arm. None of the studied baseline markers was associated with a differential benefit of planned CD over planned VD in the rate of composite adverse perinatal outcome. GA at delivery was associated differentially with composite adverse perinatal outcome in the treatment arms (P for interaction < 0.001). Among pregnancies delivered at 32 + 0 to 36 + 6 weeks, there was a trend towards a lower rate of composite adverse perinatal outcome in those in the planned-VD group compared with those in planned-CD group (29 (2.2%) vs 48 (3.6%) cases; odds ratio (OR) 0.62 (95% CI, 0.37–1.03)). In pregnancies delivered at or after 37 + 0 weeks, planned VD was associated with a significantly higher rate of composite adverse perinatal outcome, as compared with planned CD (23 (1.5%) vs 10 (0.7%) cases; OR, 2.25 (95% CI, 1.06–4.77)). Conclusion: The perinatal outcome of twin pregnancies with the first twin in cephalic presentation may differ depending on GA at delivery and planned mode of delivery. At 32–37 weeks, planned VD seems to be favorable, while, from around 37 weeks onwards, planned CD might be safer. The absolute risks of adverse perinatal outcomes at term are low and must be weighed against the increased maternal risks associated with planned CD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-591
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


FundersFunder number
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek401.16.080
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    • gestational age
    • mode of delivery
    • multiple pregnancy
    • twins


    Dive into the research topics of 'Planned Cesarean or planned vaginal delivery for twins: secondary analysis of randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this