When we go through the miracle of having a child, it’s life-changing. The impact of having a little one introduced into the family is a special experience and is the greatest gift we can have. However, not long after the birth of a child, it’s easy to pang for the early days once again.
It’s for this reason that so many parents quickly go from having one child to having two. If you fancy adding to your list of children, though, experts do have a stated time that you should wait.
Indeed, according to a study produced recently, you should need to wait at least 18 months between pregnancies. This helps to vastly reduce risks for both mother and child, according to a new report in JAMA Internal Medicine.
According to Laura Schummers, author of the report: “Our study found increased risks to both mother and infant when pregnancies are closely spaced, including for women older than 35,
“The findings for older women are particularly important, as older women tend to more closely space their pregnancies and often do so intentionally.”
Typically, anything less than 18 months is now rated as being inadequate in many ways. Consider what pregnancy does to the body: the scale of change is remarkable. Giving yourself time to prepare physically and mentally makes obvious sense. However, those aged 20-34 are actually most at risk to have problems with their health or the health of their child.
How did this study come to be?
The study took in over 150,000 different health records across Canada. This took in the health records of both babies and mothers, looking at health records, hospital data and infertility details as well as census records.
This produced interesting details on the links between mortality rates and severe morbidity – a rare but life-threatening problem that can take place during pregnancy, labor and/or delivery. The study found that higher numbers of dangerous symptoms arose from pregnancies taking place prior to 18 months after another.
Waiting 18 months reduced the risk of premature birth, for example, from 1.2% to 0.5%. For those aged 20-34, the study found that those waiting just six months after one pregnancy completes could find themselves with an 8.5% risk of a pre-term birth – 18-months would see this drop to 5%. According to Dr. Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, a Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Short pregnancy spacing might reflect unplanned pregnancies, particularly among young women,
“Whether the elevated risks are due to our bodies not having time to recover if we conceive soon after delivering or to factors associated with unplanned pregnancies, like inadequate prenatal care, the recommendation might be the same: improve access to postpartum contraception, or abstain from unprotected sexual intercourse with a male partner following a birth.”
As ever, it’s important to work with trusted health professionals to find out the best path to successful pregnancy for yourself.
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