It is now well established that IUGR is associated with an increased risk of a range of adult onset diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Infants from twin pregnancies are generally born smaller than singletons; therefore, it has been suggested that twins represent a naturally occurring model of IUGR. Although twin gestations contribute significantly to the population burden of preterm birth and small size at birth, whether twins have the same long-term health consequences as IUGR singletons remains unclear. The purpose of this review is to consider what is currently known about the clinical implications of twinning, the differences that exist between the growth and developmental profiles of singleton and twin fetuses, and to use this as a basis for exploring the question of whether fetuses conceived as twins are analogous to IUGR singletons of similar birthweight and gestation. This question is increasingly important in both the clinical and research settings, because the incidence of twinning is increasing and the long-term implications of reduced size at birth are mostly investigated in species which bear multiple offspring.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health