Update 1.55pm: The Irish Penal Reform Trust says young mothers should only be sent to prison as a last resort.
New figures show 4 babies were born to women in Mountjoy jail in Dublin last year.
It brings the number born in custody to 17 in the last 17 years.
The Trust which campaigns for rights for prisoners says custodial sentences for women should only be considered as a last resort.
Deirdre Malone its Executive Director says when women are involved in offending it tends to be non violent.
She said: "They tend to receive short sentences and they tend to be in circumstances where there is addiction, poor mental health issues or a history of trauma.
"The majority of women with young children could be managed within the community and a more humane approach must be found for those few mothers with young children who have committed serious crime."
Earlier: The number of babies born to women behind bars is the highest it’s been in recent years.
4 babies were born to women serving time in Mountjoy last year, up from 3 in 2016 and none in 2015.
In total, 17 babies have been born to women in custody between 2010 and the end of last year.
Women are allowed to spend a year with their baby in the Dochas Centre before the baby has to leave the jail.
- Digital Desk