Twin deliveries in the United States over three decades: An age-period-cohort analysis

John G. Smulian, Cande V. Ananth, Wendy L. Kinzler, Eftichia Kontopoulos, Anthony M. Vintzileos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Time is am important variable in understanding the recent increase in twin deliveries in the United States. Therefore, this study was designed to estimate the influences of maternal age, period (year) of delivery, and maternal-birth-year cohort on trends in rates of twin deliveries. METHODS: United States natality data were used to assess trends in twin pregnancies resulting in live births. This age-period-cohort analysis included 7,5-year maternal-age groups (15-19 through 45-49 years), 6 twin delivery periods (1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000), and 12, 5-year maternal birth cohorts (1926-1930 through 1981-1985). The independent effects of maternal age, twin delivery period, and maternal birth cohort on twin delivery rates for blacks and whites were modeled using Poisson regression techniques. RESULTS: Our study assessed 95,042 blacks and 401,989 whites with twin deliveries. Twin deliveries increased by 46% for blacks and 62% for whites from 1975 to 2000, with the largest increase occurring in the year 2000. For blacks, maternal age had the strongest impact on the increasing twin delivery rates, followed by period of delivery. For whites, the greatest effect was due to period of delivery, followed by maternal birth year cohort and, lastly, maternal age. CONCLUSION: Our data confirm the importance of nature's biologic contribution of maternal aging to twin delivery rates, but suggest that recent changes in the environment surrounding pregnancy (nurture) also influence twin delivery rates. The relative contributions of biologic versus environmental influences appear to differ among blacks and whites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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