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

M. H. Zafarmand* (Corresponding Author), S. M. T. A. Goossens, P. Tajik, P. M. M. Bossuyt, E. V. Asztalos, G. J. Gardener, A. R. Willan, F. J. M. E. Roumen, B. W. Mol, Y. (Jon) Barrett, the Twin Birth Study Collaborative Group, Twin Birth Study Collaborative Group

*Corresponding author for this work

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ObjectiveTo 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.MethodsThis 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.ResultsOf 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)).ConclusionThe 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. © 2019 The Authors. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-591
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
Early online date1 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

We thank all the participants in the Twin Birth Study and the staff at the Centre for Mother, Infant, and Child Research for their hard work and dedication. The Twin Birth Study was supported by a grant (63164) from the Canadian Institute of Health Research. P.T. and M.H.Z. were supported by a grant from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO ‐ grant number 401.16.080). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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


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