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Curves of Placental Weights of Live-Born Twins

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Marij Gielen*
Affiliation:
Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Department of Population Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands. marij.gielen@gen.unimaas.nl
Patrick J. Lindsey
Affiliation:
Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Department of Population Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Catherine Derom
Affiliation:
Department for Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Ruth J. F. Loos
Affiliation:
Human Genome Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, United States of America; Department of Sport and Movement Science, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Robert Derom
Affiliation:
Association for Scientific Research in Multiple Births, Destelbergen, Belgium.
Jan G. Nijhuis
Affiliation:
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Robert Vlietinck
Affiliation:
Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Department of Population Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Department for Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
*
*Address for correspondence: Marij Gielen, Department of Population Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Maastricht University, Universiteitssingel 50 Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Abstract

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The purpose of this study is to present curves of estimated placental growth in twins and to evaluate the relative contribution of gestational age, zygosity, chorionicity, fusion of the placentas, sex of the individual and of the twin pair, site of the umbilical cord insertion, birth order, maternal age, and parity. Perinatal data and placental data were obtained from 6315 live-born twin pairs from the East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey. Of 4318 twin pairs, with no missing values, the placental weights of different gestational ages were analyzed using a nonlinear multivariate Gaussian regression. Two groups were distinguished: (1) twins with two separate placentas, and (2) twins with only one placental mass (one placenta in case of monochorionic twins or two fused placentas in case of dichorionic placentas). Overall, placental weight was influenced by gestational age, fusion of the placentas, and parity. In the case of one placental mass, monozygotic dichorionic twins had the lowest weights. If two separate placentas were present, birth order played a role in favor of the first-born twin. For parity and zygosity, the differences were most pronounced between 27 and 29 weeks, whereas the difference for birth order was most pronounced between 33 and 37 weeks. In conclusion, basic physiological characteristics, routinely examined at birth, influence placental weight. Taking these covariates into account allows a better evaluation of the placental weight given a gestational age, as an indicator of growth.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006
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