Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction
Multifetal pregnancy reduction (MFPR) is a procedure used
to reduce the number of fetuses in a multiple pregnancy, usually to two. When a
pregnancy involves three or more fetuses (high-order pregnancy), the risks of
miscarriage, stillbirth, and lifelong disability increase with each additional
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) and
fertility drugs have greatly increased the number of
The goal of MFPR is to increase
the chance of a successful, healthy pregnancy. Multifetal pregnancy
The most common method of fetal reduction
is transabdominal (through the belly) MFPR. For this procedure, the doctor uses
ultrasound as a guide and inserts a needle through the
woman's abdomen and into the uterus to the selected fetus. The doctor injects
the fetus with a potassium chloride solution, which stops the fetal heart.
Because it is very small during the first trimester, the
dead fetus is usually absorbed by the mother's body. This may include some
vaginal bleeding. This absorption process is the same process that happens in
vanishing twin syndrome.
When there are three or more fetuses in the uterus, their risks of disability or death are higher with each additional fetus. A successful MFPR increases the chances of healthy survival for the remaining fetuses and reduces risks to you. But MFPR sometimes leads to miscarriage of the remaining fetuses, preterm labor, or infection.
The decision to have a multifetal pregnancy reduction is difficult and traumatic. If you are faced with this decision, talk to your doctor about your personal risks from trying to carry multiple fetuses to term compared to the risks of choosing MFPR. Also consider discussing your decision with a counselor or spiritual adviser.
The American Society for
Reproductive Medicine and the American Congress of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists strongly recommend careful use of infertility treatment in the
effort to avoid the risks of a triplet-or-more pregnancy and of MFPR. When
embryos are transferred to the uterus, this means limiting the number of
embryos that are transferred for each treatment cycle.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 22, 2015
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital