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Birth defects in multiples on the rise: Study

Published on Feb 8, 2013 8:08 AM

(REUTERS) - The number of birth defects among multiple births such as twins and triplets increased nearly two-fold in a score of European countries over a 24-year-period, according to an international study.

Researchers writing in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology used data on more than 5.4 million births occurring between 1984 and 2007 to find that congenital defects rose from around six in every 10,000 multiple births to about 11 in every 10,000 multiples.

"The importance of knowing this is twofold," said senior author Helen Dolk, from the Centre for Maternal Fetal and Infant Research at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

"First, to make sure we have appropriate services available for mothers and babies. The second is to understand the relationship," she added.

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