Double jeopardy: Twin infant mortality in the United States, 1983 and 1984

Mary Glenn Fowler, Joel C. Kleinman, John L. Kiely, Samuel S. Kessel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The United States Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Sets: 1983 and 1984 Birth Cohorts from the National Center for Health Statistics were used to identify maternal and infant characteristics related to twin infant mortality; 41,554 white and 10,062 black live-born matched twin pairs were evaluated. Twin birth weight distribution was skewed with 48% of white and 63% of black twins born weighing <2500 gm. Overall infant mortality rates were 47.1 and 79.3 deaths per 1000 live births for white and black twins, respectively (five times the rates for singletons). Three fourths of deaths were among twins weighing <1500 gm. White like-gender twins had about twice the risk of both twins dying compared with unlike-gender twins. Likewise, white twin pairs with >25% birth weight disparity had a 40% to 80% increased risk of both twins dying, compared with twins whose weights were within 10% of each other. Twins born to high-risk women (on the basis of demographic factors) were twice as likely to die as twins born to low-risk women. Thus strategies to decrease twin infant mortality must address both maternal and infant risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Twins
  • infant mortality
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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