Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 February 2012
Twin pregnancies are associated with disturbed fetal growth and a higher risk of low birthweight (LBW), which is one of the most important determinants of perinatal morbidity and mortality in Africa. In this study, we compare anthropometric measurements in Sudanese twins and their mothers with singletons. Methods: In 1000 Sudanese mothers with singleton births and 30 mothers with twins, maternal (weight, height, mid-arm circumference) and 11 newborn anthropometric measurements were taken within 24 hours of delivery. Maternal education and socio-economic status were additionally recorded. Results: Mothers of twins had a significantly higher body weight (p = .045) and lean body mass (p = .02) after delivery, and were from higher social classes in general (p = .014). In addition to gestational age, twins displayed a statistically significant reduction in all anthropometric data, compared to singletons, mainly in terms of birth-weight, chest and head circumference, whereas differences in triceps and subscapular skin fold thickness and ponderal index were distinctly lower. The LBW rate in twins was markedly higher than that in singletons (43.3% vs. 8.3%, p < .001). In 20 out of 30 twins (66.7%), Twin A weighed more than Twin B (difference (SD) of 443 (335) g), and in the remaining 10 cases (33.7%), the weight of Twin B was equal to or more than that of twin A (difference (SD) of 211 (240) g, p = .039). In unlike-sex pairs, the mean (SD) difference between Twins A and B in birthweight was 459 (481) g, which was distinctly higher, compared to same-sex pairs (boys, 180 (325) g and girls, 36 (413) g). Conclusions: Sudanese twins displayed significantly reduced anthropometric measurements compared to singletons, but to different degrees. Gender had a higher impact on birthweight in twins than in singletons.