Aims: Main objectives were 1) to determine the incidence
of higher multiple births from 1995 to 1998 in Switzerland,
and 2) to evaluate neonatal mortality and morbidity.
Secondary objectives were 3) to compare the results with
those of matched singletons, and 4) to compare the present
data to the first Swiss study (1985-1988).
Methods: Retrospective analysis of maternal and neonatal
data obtained from all Swiss hospitals.
Results: The incidence of triplet births was 1/3247 and
that of quadruplet births 1/81186.The median gestational
age was 32 5/7 weeks for triplets, and 28 6/7 weeks for
quadruplets. The median birth weight was 1665 g for
triplets and 1076 g for quadruplets. Perinatal mortality
was 6% for triplets and 19% for quadruplets. Respiratory
distress syndrome was the major morbidity as diagnosed
in 52% of triplets and 81% of quadruplets. A
comparison of triplets with matched singletons showed
no significant differences in morbidity and mortality. Compared with the first Swiss study, the mortality rate
decreased, while the incidence of triplets increased but
decreased for quadruplets.
Conclusion: The incidence of higher-order multiple
births in Switzerland dropped for quadruplets in the last
decade but has increased for triplets. The mortality and
morbidity of triplets is comparable to that of singletons
with a similar gestational age.