How long can you wait to have a baby(2/4)

By Rumi Samuel Published on July 31, 2022
How long can you wait to have a baby(2/4)

Do you have baby fever … again? You’re still getting the hang of late-night feedings and swaddling, but you and your partner are anxious to add another to the crew. Oh, how quickly we forget about those 36 hours of hard labour.

If you want multiple children, you may wonder what the “proper spacing” should be and how soon you can safely start trying again. And for some older couples, the proverbial clock is ticking louder than ever to get started.

Pregnancy spacing is an important part of family planning, but there are some factors that you’ll need to consider before you give it a go.

What are the risks of spacing pregnancies too close together?

Research suggests that beginning a pregnancy within six months of live birth is associated with an increased risk of:

  • Premature birth
  • The placenta partially or completely peeling away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery (placental abruption)
  • Low birth weight
  • Congenital disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Maternal anaemia

In addition, recent research suggests that closely spaced pregnancies might be associated with an increased risk of autism in second-born children. The risk is highest for pregnancies spaced less than 12 months apart.

Closely spaced pregnancies might not give a mother enough time to recover from pregnancy before moving on to the next. For example, pregnancy and breastfeeding can deplete your stores of nutrients, particularly folate. If you become pregnant before replacing those stores, it could affect your health or your baby's health. Inflammation of the genital tract that develops during pregnancy and doesn't completely heal before the next pregnancy could also play a role.

Are there risks associated with spacing pregnancies too far apart?

Some research also suggests that long intervals between pregnancies pose concerns for mothers and babies, such as an increased risk of preeclampsia in people with no history of the condition.

It's not clear why long pregnancy intervals might cause health problems. It's possible that pregnancy improves the uterine capacity to promote fetal growth and support, but that over time these beneficial physiological changes disappear.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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