The new NICE guideline on multiple pregnancies includes advice on determining gestational age and chorionicity, nutrition, specialist care provision, monitoring for intrauterine growth restriction and timing of delivery.
West Midlands GP Dr Abhijit Bhattacharyya, a member of the guideline development group, said GPs would find the guideline a helpful source of information on the specialist care women should be receiving and on helping to treat other health issues during pregnancy. He said GPs would in future also find the guidance useful when commissioning maternity services.
The guideline advises that women with a multiple pregnancy need more monitoring and more frequent antenatal visits due to the higher risks which can be associated with twin and triplet pregnancies. But it recommends that women with a multiple pregnancy should receive the same nutritional and lifestyle advice as that given to women expecting one baby.
Over the past 30 years, the use of assisted reproduction techniques such as IVF has led to an increase in the incidence of multiple births. About 3% of live births are now multiple births.
Dr Abhijit Bhattacharyya said: ‘GPs are encountering more twin and triplet pregnancies, and because they are often the first contact for pregnant women, knowledge about care of these women is vital.
‘However, until now the guidelines for antenatal care for women with a multiple pregnancy were not standardised. The new NICE multiple pregnancy guideline sets clear best practice recommendations.’