Volume 13 (2003) Issue 6 Pages 333-341
Numerous birth weight standards for twins have been reported in western countries, whereas little is in Japan. The aim of this study is to present birth weight, birth length, chest circumfer- ence, and head circumference references, clarifying features related to these body size parameters, and to compare our birth weight references with recent report of birth weight norms of Japanese twins using the vital statistics. METHODS: The subjects consisted of 1, 061 twin pairs in total, with birth years ranging from 1968 through 1990. Data was obtained from the Twins Protocol Questionnaire, which asked for information about twins' growth and development in infancy, and the "Maternal and Child Health Handbook, " which was presented by Ministry of Health and Welfare. Statistical means, standard deviations, and selected percentiles by gestational age were calculated and smoothed using data that contained at least gesta- tional age and one of the four items. RESULTS: Birth weight was significantly lighter than that of singletons when three additional parame- ters, especially chest and head circumference, were not measured. Gestational age was correlated with weight, length, chest circumference, and head circumference, in that order, for both sexes. Compared with singletons, birth weight difference in twins was marked and slight difference was observed as to length, whereas no difference was observed as to chest and head circumference. The present results as to birth weight were consistently similar to the birth weight norms of twins using vital statistics in Japan. CONCLUSION: Growth standards for twins, especially as to birth weight, are essential to understand and evaluate intrauterine growth of twins. J Epidemiol 2003;13:333-341.