Data shows second baby in set of 'Irish twins' could be premature, have low birth weight

Organization recommends 18 months between births

INDIANAPOLIS - More moms seem to be making the choice to have  what's commonly referred to as "Irish twins," -- two babies born within a 12-month period.

But some data has health professionals questioning the safety of pregnancies so close together.

They said it could be risky, not for the mother, but for the second baby. 

"The literature certainly supports that there could be a higher instance of preterm birth and preterm delivery and low birth weight (for the second baby)," said Dr. Rick Gates, an OB/GYN at St. Vincent Women's Hospital. "Those certainly can have some ramifications, obviously, long term."

In his practice at St. Vincent Women's Hospital, Gates said the phenomenon of so-called Irish Twins seems to be spontaneous rather than planned.

And while one study even suggests a higher rate of autism in the second child, Gates said a cause and effect has not been linked to having babies close together.

"With our patients it's certainly a personal choice," he said.

Brianna Flynn is due with her first child in May.

"A girl. I'm going to name her Jayden," she said.

Flynn comes from a family of five. Two of her sisters are Irish twins.

Flynn said she thinks siblings born close together are closer emotionally.

"The closer they are in age, the closer they'll be, because they'll have the same experience, so they can talk to each other about their experiences," Flynn said. "I think it's fine if they're close together."

But she said she wants to wait on having a second child.

The March of Dimes -- probably the most well-known organization dedicated to preventing premature birth -- recommends women wait at least 18 months between deliveries. 

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