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The Numbers


Numbers of triplet, quadruplet, quintuplet and other higher order multiple births: United States 1989-94

Year Triplets Quadruplets Quintuplets and other higher order multiples Triplets as percent of all triplet and other higher order multiple births
1994 4,233 315 46 92%
1993 3,834 277 57 92
1992 3,547 310 26 91
1991 3,121 203 22 93
1990 2,830 185 13 93
1989 2,529 229 40 90

Are these medical miracles, or signs of an alarming trend in reproductive science? Here some facts to help you decide.

Multiple Facts:

  • Average weight of a singleton newborn: 7 pounds, 6 ounces (3,358 grams).
  • Average weight of a triplet newborn: 3 pounds, 12 ounces (1,698 grams).
  • Infant death rate for a singleton: 7.8 per 1,000.
  • Infant death rate for a triplet: 93.7 per 1,000.
  • Triplet infants are 12 times more likely to die during the first year than a singleton infant.
Infant Mortality Rates

The 5 leading causes of death for singleton, and triplet and other higher order multiple births (Rates are per 100,000 live births)

Cause of Death Triplets Singletons
Newborn affected by maternal complications of pregnancy 2,810.2 17.2
Respiratory distress syndrome 1,824.8 60.2
Disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birthweight 729.9 84.2
Congenital anomalies 700.7 189.0
Sudden infant death syndrome 255.5 129.4

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics






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