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Twin gestations are commonly associated with delivery of low birthweight infants. Despite the fact that Nigeria has the highest incidence of twinning in the world, there is paucity of information on the characteristics ofLBWtwin infants in Nigeria. To determine the incidence and document some of the characteristics of low birth weight (LBW) twin infants.
Adescriptive analysis of data on 119LBWtwin infants delivered between 1st January, 2000 and 31st December, 2003 in a Nigerian mission hospital in Benin City was carried out. The characteristics of the LBW twin infants was studied in relation to perinatal mortality. The overall incidence of LBWtwin infants was 51.7% with a female preponderance. Of the 107 liveborn
LBWtwins, 74 (69.2%) compared to 33 (30.8%) were preterm and term small-for-gestational age (SGA) infants respectively (p<0.001). Twenty six (35.1%) of the 74 preterms were very preterm ( <32 weeks gestation), corresponding to 24.3% of all LBW twin infants. The associated perinatal mortality for the two categories of LBW infants were 21.6% for preterm and 9.1% for term SGAinfants (p>0.05). Of the 119 LBW twin infants, 7.6% were extremely LBW, 10.1% very LBW while 57.1% were in 2000 2499g category. Fifty one (42.9%) of LBW twin infants weighed less than 2000g. The risk of delivery of LBW twin infants was significantly higher in primiparous women (p<0.001), as well as in mothers who were unbooked (p<0.001) or lacked formal education (p<0.01). Out of 9 growth discordant LBW twins, 6 (66.7%) had birthweight difference 30%. In twin gestations, preterm delivery is a more important contributor to LBW than term SGA
delivery with majority of these preterm infants delivered by primiparous mothers.