Temporal and territorial analysis of multiple deliveries in Spain (1900-2006)

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Temporal variations in the frequency of multiple maternities in many Western European countries have been described. However, within a single country, regional differences are observed. Urban industrialized regions and rural agricultural areas have experienced in recent decades a distinct decline in multiple deliveries, which in cases have been related to maternal age and parity changes. Research on multiple deliveries in Spain is scarce and none of the studies go back to the beginning of the 20th century or consider regional variation over an extended period of time. The present paper is a yearly study on multiple deliveries in Spain since 1900 including a geographical analysis. Rather than dealing with recent changes in multi-parity, this paper is concerned with Spain's long-term national variation (between 1900 and 2006). The changing pattern of double and triple deliveries was analyzed using data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE). Twinning rates in Spain are low in comparison to those of equivalent periods in other countries, and the minimum rates correspond to the 1980s decade. Results were interpreted by taking into account the influence of age at maternity and reproductive variation up to 1990. A good fit between observed and predicted rates was obtained after the application of models, which besides maternal age and parity, include their interaction. Regarding territorial variability, the values corresponding to southern, northern and insular Spanish provinces are consistent with an earlier reduction of the crude birth rate in the northeast regions and latter in the southern regions and the Canary Islands.