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Pregnancy with Irish Twins:
If you have read the about me section of my page you will know that I have two boys that are eleven months and three days apart. I am a twin and my husband, Christian’s mom is also. We thought the odds were in our favor to have twins, but God had a different plan. We ended up not having twins, but having Irish twins.
What are Irish Twins?
Irish twins are defined as having two children within 12 months.
The History of Irish Twins:
The term, “Irish Twins” first appeared in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, a time when there was a great influx of Irish immigrants into the US.
Most Irish immigrants at that time were strict Catholics, and therefore, did not practice family planning. It was not uncommon for Irish families to be quite large, with children coming into the family almost yearly.
For this reason, it is easy to see that the term Irish twins were at the time considered a derogatory, making a negative comment upon their “differentness” as immigrants.
My Irish Twins:
Jack was born in January of 2016 and the pregnancy wasn’t exciting till near the end. I passed a blood clot and then spiked a fever during labor. This resulted in him being rushed to the NICU following an emergency c-section. I didn’t have any morning sickness with him except for perfumes and cologne.
Luke was born second in December of 2016 and the morning sickness started at 9-weeks. It would last most of the day into the afternoon. I felt like I gave ginger ale and ginger snaps some good money for those few months.
During our 20-week ultrasound, we found out that Luke had an echogenic intracardiac focus (or EIF), which looks like a small bright spot on a developing baby’s heart during an ultrasound.
More on EIFs (Echogenic Intracardiac Focus):
EIFs themselves have no impact on health or heart function. Often the EIF is gone by the third trimester. If there are no problems or chromosome abnormalities, EIFs are considered normal changes, or variants.
Researchers have noted an association between EIF and chromosome problems. The types of chromosome problems that are occasionally seen include trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome) or trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).
In the case of an isolated EIF, and no other ultrasound findings, some studies show that the risk for a chromosome abnormality is approximately two times a woman’s background risk. Other studies report up to a 1% risk for Down syndrome when an EIF is seen on a second-trimester fetal ultrasound exam.
I was sent to a high-risk obstetrician who did some genetic tests and a detailed ultrasound that all came back okay. The spot was still there, but she didn’t appear worried about it. The physician advised that sometimes it will just go away on its own, but they will do the testing and keep a close eye on it. The spot remained till the final 2-weeks before our scheduled c-section. We had no complications following and all testing came back fine.
Risks of Pregnancy’s Back-to-Back
Due to the toll one’s body takes during a pregnancy, it’s not really recommended to have a back-to-back pregnancy. The World Health Organisation recommends a gap of 2 to 5 years before you welcome a new life into this world.
The definition for Irish Twins or sometimes called Catholic Twins is having siblings less than a year apart.
Risks of Having Irish Twins:
- Prematurity is defined as a newborn that is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. It is possible for the younger sibling to be born prematurely. Even though the older sibling was born at term (after 37 weeks of pregnancy). The reason being, during pregnancy a woman’s body depletes resources that takes time to replenish.
- Health Risks to Mother as stated above it takes time for women’s bodies to recover so during contractions it is important to rest.
- The Low Birth Weight of the second child. This complication likely results due to prematurity. Another possibility is the lack of nutrition in the womb. The mother’s body hasn’t replenished the necessary vitamins and nutrients from the previous birth. Where one can overcome through the proper intake of nutrients and prenatal vitamins.
- In my situation, Luke actually weighed more than my first son, Jack. This can vary by different individuals so I would not recommend stressing over it.
- Scarcity of breastmilk as breastfeeding during pregnancy might lead to contractions due to the release of oxytocin in one’s body, and she may also witness her milk to dry up.
- High autism risk as a sibling born less than a year after her older sibling is three times more susceptible to the risk of autism than those who have a much larger gap. This could be related to prematurity, lack of nutrients, and various other factors.
- Complications with placenta due to back-to-back pregnancies may lead to serious complications with the placenta, i.e., placenta previa and placental abruption. In placenta previa, the placenta lies low in the uterus, possibly covering the cervix, which may lead to bleeding. Placental abruption is a condition wherein, placenta disconnects from the uterine wall. This results in heavy bleeding due to the tear in all connecting blood vessels. It can also prove life-threatening for the mother.
- Momma may take years to recover from one pregnancy. This goes beyond the typical tiredness and physical aspect of carrying, delivering and nourishing a child. Carrying a baby can take vital nutrients from a mother that can take years to replenish and restore.
Having two children in a small timespan doesn’t allow mothers the necessary time to recover physically or mentally. So many complications can occur or not occur like in any given situation. It has been found that a mother with kids close in age is at a higher risk of postpartum depression which can cause long-term damage if left untreated.
Every situation is completely different though and I did not meet any of the risks listed above. I ate a well-balanced diet, but I will probably still have my belly for a bit. It is getting smaller when I look at pictures.
Want to Read More:
I came across this article on 20 things that happen when you have Irish twin’s and I could relate to every one of the 20 regarding it so I have to share.