The incidence, maternal, fetal and neonatal consequences of single intrauterine fetal death in monochorionic twins: a prospective observational UKOSS study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • West Midlands Research Collaborative (WMRC), West Midlands, UK.
  • Fetal Medicine Centre
  • Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust
  • Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Mindelsohn Way, Birmingham
  • University of Oxford


OBJECTIVE: Report maternal, fetal and neonatal complications associated with single intrauterine fetal death (sIUFD) in monochorionic twin pregnancies.

DESIGN: Prospective observational study.


POPULATION: 81 monochorionic twin pregnancies with sIUFD after 14 weeks gestation, irrespective of cause.

METHODS: UKOSS reporters submitted data collection forms using data from hospital records.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Aetiology of sIUFD; surviving co-twin outcomes: perinatal mortality, central nervous system (CNS) imaging, gestation and mode of delivery, neonatal outcomes; post-mortem findings; maternal outcomes.

RESULTS: The commonest aetiology was twin-twin transfusion syndrome (38/81, 47%), "spontaneous" sIUFD (22/81, 27%) was second commonest. Death of the co-twin was common (10/70, 14%). Preterm birth (<37 weeks gestation) was the commonest adverse outcome (77%): half were spontaneous and half iatrogenic. Only 46/75 (61%) cases had antenatal CNS imaging, of which 33 cases had known results of which 7/33 (21%) had radiological findings suggestive of neurological damage. Postnatal CNS imaging revealed an additional 7 babies with CNS abnormalities, all born at <36 weeks, including all 4 babies exhibiting abnormal CNS signs. Major maternal morbidity was relatively common, with 6% requiring ITU admission, all related to infection.

CONCLUSIONS: Monochorionic twin pregnancies with single IUD are complex and require specialist care. Further research is required regarding optimal gestation at delivery of the surviving co-twin, preterm birth prevention, and classifying the cause of death in twin pregnancies. Awareness of the importance of CNS imaging, and follow-up, needs improvement.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0239477
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2020