Working together with Twins Research Australia, St George’s Hospital, London and clinicians from around the world, we have been trying to identify the most important research questions for twins, triplets and more, their families, clinicians and researchers.
We collected suggestions for research questions from all these groups in our survey, then asked participants to rank which were most important to them. In June 2019 we held a final workshop where representatives of each group came together to prioritise the final Top 10 list.
The top 10 research priorities, which were published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology in December 2019, are
- Would staff with specialist training in multiple pregnancies improve outcomes in these pregnancies?
- How can we reduce multiples’ admission to the neonatal unit? If admitted, how can we reduce multiples’ length of stay in the neonatal unit?
- What interventions prevent and support postnatal mental health problems in parents of multiples?
- How can we prevent maternal complications of multiple pregnancies?
- What are the short- and long-term outcomes in multiple pregnancies? How are these outcomes affected by antenatal events & medical interventions?
- How are higher order multiple pregnancies best managed?
- What are the expected growth patterns of small-for-gestational-age multiples? How can we assess the growth of infant multiples and ensure that they follow a satisfactory growth trajectory?
- What parental interventions can improve the developmental outcomes (ie. speech, language, education) of multiples?
- What are the short- and long-term maternal health risks following a multiple pregnancy?
- What prenatal factors (including changes to lifestyle, health history, personality characteristics etc.) and supports for parents of multiples have the most benefit on birth and ongoing health outcomes for both parents and their children?
We are now using these priorities to shape the future of research, encouraging researchers to use these topics to conduct their research through our joint BMFMS bursaries and the Twins Trust Centre for Research and Clinical Excellence.