Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Twin babies born 87 days apart

Rare births probably a first in Irish medical history

A consultant obstetrician has described the birth of twin babies 87 days apart as "probably the first of its kind" in Irish medical history.

Dr Eddie O'Donnell, from Waterford Regional Hospital, said such an occurrence was extremely unusual, and the family are lucky the babies are healthy.

Twins Amy and Katie were born to Maria Jones-Elliott and her husband Chris, from Glenmore, Co Kilkenny.

Supervision

Ms Jones-Elliott (34) went into labour four months early and gave birth last June 1 to Amy, but then her contractions stopped.

Katie was not born until August 27 -- almost three months later -- and Ms Jones-Elliott remained in Waterford Regional Hospital under close supervision.

"Most people haven't heard of this," said Dr O'Donnell, who worked with the delivery team.

"There were cases documented as far back as the 1800s of babies born 40 days apart. Two weeks is the longest I've ever seen."

Dr O'Donnell said that in a normal birth of twins, the first is born and the mother continues to contract until the second arrives.

However, in rare cases the contractions suddenly stop after the first baby is delivered.

A patient would then usually be placed on a drip and an induced birth would be attempted, according to Dr O'Donnell.

In Ms Jones-Elliott's case, unsuccessful attempts were made to induce the second baby, after which she and her husband decided to wait and let nature take its course.

A lengthy interval between the births of twins can pose significant difficulties and dangers to both babies.

"You can end up losing a twin, it could be stillborn," Dr O'Donnell said.

"There are also a number of health issues that can present when a child is born prematurely and this can prove fatal."

It is understood that the 87-day interval between Amy and Katie is a world record.

Dr O'Donnell said medical literature documents an 84-day interval.

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