Perinatal outcome associated with outpatient management of triplet pregnancy

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Our goal was to compare the lengths of hospitalization and the perinatal outcomes of triplet pregnancies managed with either outpatient or inpatient third-trimester bed rest.


Thirty-two triplet pregnancies in which outpatient bed rest was prescribed (April 1993 to April 1996) were compared with a historic cohort of 34 triplets (January 1985 to March 1993) in which routine hospitalization was undertaken in the third trimester. Length of hospitalization and maternal and neonatal outcome parameters were compared between groups.


Maternal inpatient hospital days were significantly reduced for the group managed as outpatients, but combined maternal and neonatal hospitalization was similar between groups. The mean gestational age at delivery was 1 week greater in the hospitalized cohort (33.5 +/- 2.8 vs 32.5 +/- 2.8, respectively; p = 0.16), and average birth weight was correspondingly greater in hospitalized cases (1942 gm vs 1718 gm, p <0.005). Neonatal lengths of stay were similar between groups, reflecting earlier postnatal discharge in the outpatient era of this study. Preeclampsia occurred with greater frequency in the outpatient group (31.3% vs 8.8%, p = 0.02), and the neonatal complication of intraventricular hemorrhage occurred more commonly in this cohort as well (10/96 vs 1/102, p = 0.004). All other maternal and neonatal complications were similar between groups.


Reduction in the length of hospitalization attributable to outpatient management was limited to the maternal length of stay. It is possible that the observed maternal and neonatal complications in the outpatient group may have been related to less rigorous bed rest. We would suggest that the differences noted in preeclampsia, birth weight, and intraventricular hemorrhage support prospective evaluation of bed rest in triplet pregnancy. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1998;178:843-7.)

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