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BACKGROUND: Triplet pregnancies are associated with a high risk of miscarriage and early preterm birth. It is uncertain if the outcome is improved by embryo reduction (ER). METHODS: We examined trichorionic triplet pregnancies with three live fetuses at 10-14 weeks of gestation that were managed expectantly or by ER. The two groups were compared for the rates of miscarriage, defined as pregnancy loss before 24 weeks, and preterm delivery prior to 32 weeks. In addition, systematic searches were performed to identify studies comparing outcomes in expectant management versus ER in triplet pregnancies. RESULTS: We combined data from 365 pregnancies managed in our centre with those of five previous studies. In total there were 893 pregnancies. In the ER group (n=482) compared to the expectantly managed group (n=411), the rate of miscarriage was higher [8.1 versus 4.4%; relative risk (RR)=1.83, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.08-3.16, P=0.036] and the rate of early preterm delivery was lower (10.4 versus 26.7%, RR=0.37, 95% CI=0.27-0.51, P<0.0001). It was calculated that seven (95% CI=5-9) reductions needed to be performed to prevent one early preterm delivery, while the number of reductions that would cause one miscarriage was 26 (95% CI=14-193). CONCLUSIONS: In trichorionic triplets, ER to twins is associated with an increase in the risk of subsequent miscarriage and decrease in risk of early preterm birth.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Reprod

Publication Date





1912 - 1917


Abortion, Spontaneous, Female, Humans, Obstetric Labor, Premature, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outcome, Pregnancy Reduction, Multifetal, Pregnancy, Multiple, Risk, Triplets