How long should you wait before having another child?
Women should consider giving their bodies more time to recover after giving birth, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control.
Researchers believe that waiting at least 18 months will increase the chances of a healthy, full-term baby the next time around.
“Giving birth is not easy, and it does take some time for a woman’s body to heal,” says Dr. Bridgette Blazek, obstetrician/gynecologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “If a woman is able to wait two years in between her babies, she and her next baby may benefit.”
However, if a woman does get pregnant earlier than 18 months from their last pregnancy, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily have any problems.
“The time between deliveries is difficult to study” Dr. Blazek says. “So many factors can affect outcomes for mom and baby, not just the intervals between pregnancies. Also, for moms who are 35 and older, and may be less willing to wait, a 12-month interval is reasonable.”
The CDC study analyzed birth certificates from over 30 states, or about 83 percent of the overall number of births in the nation. They analyzed the number of months women wait until having another baby.
They found was that women typically wait about two and a half years, but more than 33 percent of women get pregnant before 18 months. The findings showed that about 50 percent of the women studied waited between 18 months and five years to have another child. About 20 percent of the women waited more than five years.
White women were more likely to have more children sooner, while black and Hispanic women spaced their children farther apart. The older the new mom was, the further apart she chose to have babies.
There is additional risk for new moms who had a C-section during their first pregnancy and want to try to have a vaginal birth for their next child. If there is less than 18 months between pregnancies, the risk of uterine rupture may be higher during labor, possibly due to incomplete healing of that uterine scar from their C-section, Dr. Blazek says.
“Anyone who has babies very close together knows how challenging it can be to care for them after delivery,” she says. ”Spacing them out a bit further can give moms a chance to truly enjoy their little one before bringing a new little brother or sister home. It also can allow new moms to breastfeed longer.”
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!