Motherhood

What Are Irish Twins — And Is It OK to Use the Term?

Team PeanutTeam Peanut23 days ago5 min read

What are Irish twins? Is it OK to use the term? And what are the benefits and challenges of having your own? We’ll take you through the details.

Irish Twins

Have you heard the term “Irish twins” and wondered what it means?

We’re going to find out why it’s used, where it comes from — and if it should be taken out of circulation.

We’ll also take a look at how this kind of “twin” is different from other kinds of twins.

And we’ll explore some of the benefits — and challenges — of having Irish twins yourself.

So let’s dive in.

In this article: 📝

  • What are Irish twins?
  • Where did the term “Irish twins” come from?
  • How common are Irish twins?
  • Is it safe to have Irish twins?
  • Should I have Irish twins?

What are Irish twins?

“Irish twins” is a term used to describe children born within a year of one another to the same parents.

(Some people also used it for children born within 18 months.)

So Irish twins aren’t actually twins at all.

They’re children close in age, but the results of different pregnancies.

You may also hear people talk about “Irish triplets”

.And unless they’re referring to triplets born in the Land of Saints and Scholars, the meaning is similar!

It refers to three children, rather than two, each born within a year or so of another.

And while these expressions are still in use today, there’s reason to be cautious of them.

Where did the term “Irish twins” come from?

The term first came into use in the nineteenth century when many Irish people were immigrating to the United States.

The Catholic Church forbade the use of birth control.

And as many Irish immigrants were Catholics, they often had large families.

That meant mothers frequently became pregnant again soon after the birth of a child.

The Irish twins’ meaning wasn’t without prejudice.

As new arrivals, Irish immigrants were often poor and lived in cramped conditions.

Large families meant more mouths to feed.

And the term was often associated with poverty and poor judgment.

These days, those associations have disappeared.

And some people use the term to describe their own situation if they have siblings of a similar age.

If someone calls your close-in-age children Irish twins, they probably don’t mean to offend.

But given its origins, we’d recommend steering clear of the term when referring to other people.

How common are Irish twins?

There are no official statistics to say for sure.

Biological twins, on the other hand, are the result of 31.1 out of every 1,000 live births in the US.

Biological twins are carried in the mother’s womb at the same time.

Fraternal twins come from two different eggs, while identical twins result from a single egg split into two.

Is it safe to have Irish twins?

Getting pregnant shortly after giving birth can carry increased risks.

A 2018 study found the risk of preterm labor was higher, particularly for women over 35 years old.

And it was slightly more likely that the baby would be induced or have a lower birth weight.

But it’s important to put those findings in perspective.

Mothers over 35 with an 18-month gap between their pregnancies had a chance of preterm labor of 3.6 percent.

That rose to just 5 percent with a six-month interval.

So if you’ve become pregnant shortly after having a baby, don’t worry!

Some risks may be slightly higher — but they’re still low overall.

And for mamas in their 30s or 40s, there can be fertility and health-related benefits from a shorter interval between pregnancies.

Should I have Irish twins?

Some parents actively choose to have children close together.

Siblings close in age can often be great friends, keeping each other entertained and forming lifelong bonds.

And all those baby-related tasks — changing diapers, potty training, nighttime feeds — can be over and done with much quicker!

But, of course, there are challenges too.

Handling the needs of a newborn alongside a tiny baby can be tough.

And finances can be stretched by the same costs arising around the same time.

There are no right or wrong answers here.

Deciding on the right time to have children is a very personal choice.

Irish twins, or rather siblings that are born close together from the same mama, come with undeniable benefits, as well as some real challenges.

But the most important thing is that they mean two little peanuts to love and cherish.

That sounds like a great deal to us!

💡 More from The 411:
Your Guide to Only Child Syndrome
What is Secondary Infertility? Causes, Treatment, and More
Second Pregnancy Symptoms: What’s Different?
Should I Have Another Baby?
10 Best Double Strollers for Twins & Two Under 2
Is it Easier to Get Pregnant the Second Time?
Having Two Boys: Chances and What is It Like
What is a “Parasitic Twin” & Why Don’t We Say This Anymore?
Do Identical Twins Have the Same DNA?
How to Conceive Twins
Twin Telepathy: What’s the Truth?

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