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Pregnancy Spacing: Should Couples Wait Two Years Before Getting Pregnant Again?

Pregnancy Spacing: Should Couples Wait Two Years Before Getting Pregnant Again?

Pregnancy spacing is a crucial aspect of family planning. Knowing exactly when you want to have a baby again not only allows you to choose an appropriate contraceptive method, it also helps your family prepare for things you need in taking care of another child.

Do you want to know more about pregnancy spacing? You might find the following guidelines and recommendations helpful:

1. After a live birth, couples should wait 24 months before trying to get pregnant again

This guideline, according to reports, is an “evidenced-based global recommendation” for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy. Waiting at least two years is associated with improved maternal and child outcomes.

The gap gives the mother adequate time to recover from the previous pregnancy and birth and prepare for the next one.

Case in point: Pregnancy and breastfeeding deplete nutrient stores, including folate. If a woman gets pregnant again before replacing those nutrients, it might affect maternal and infant health.

Also, the genital tract develops an inflammation during pregnancy. If the inflammation doesn’t heal before another pregnancy, it might negatively affect mother and child.

Finally, not waiting for at least two years adversely influences infant health. Reports say children born less than 2 years apart are three times more likely to die before reaching 5 years old.

2. Being pregnant within 6 months of a live birth has serious health risks

Research shows that a pregnancy spacing of less than 6 months increases the risk of:

Note that low birth weight and premature births are also risk factors for other newborn problems, such as breathing problems and infections.

3. In case of a miscarriage, couples should wait at least 6 months before attempting another pregnancy

Not doing so may result in risks, such as maternal anemia, low birth weight, and preterm birth.

4. As much as possible, pregnancy spacing shouldn’t exceed 5 years

While experts want couples to wait at least two years after a live birth, they don’t want them to wait too long. As much as possible, pregnancy spacing shouldn’t exceed 5 years.

You see, a long interval is associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes, such as preeclampsia.

Experts do not know why longer intervals are risky, but they suspect that pregnancy improves uterine capacity for fetal growth and support, but the benefit disappears overtime.

Pregnancy Spacing: Additional Things to Consider

While the priority of pregnancy spacing is to improve maternal and child outcomes, we cannot deny the fact that there are other things to consider.

For instance, mothers aged 35 and up might be advised to wait only a year before another pregnancy. This is because the more advanced their age is, the higher the risks are for mom and baby.

Other things you need to consider include:

  • Finances – Raising another baby means more expenses. Not being prepared financially might increase interpregnancy intervals.
  • Emotional readiness – Are you and your partner ready to take care of a baby again? How will your older child react to having a baby brother or sister?
  • Health status – Couples must talk to their doctor about getting pregnant again, especially when they have issues that may make pregnancy and giving birth more difficult (infertility, hypertension, etc).

Key Takeaways

Pregnancy spacing is an important part of improving maternal and child outcomes. Experts advise couples to wait at least 24 months after a live birth before trying to get pregnant again. However, they don’t recommend waiting too long (more than 5 years). Interpregnancy intervals of less than 6 months and more than 5 years are associated with adverse health outcomes.

Finally, remember that there’s no perfect time to have another baby. As much as couples plan and prepare, no one can predict when conception will happen.

Learn more about Pregnancy here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Family planning: Get the facts about pregnancy spacing, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/family-planning/art-20044072, Accessed September 29, 2021

HTSP 101: Everything You Want to Know About Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy, https://www.who.int/pmnch/topics/maternal/htsp101.pdf, Accessed September 29, 2021

Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy: Reducing Mortality Among Women and Their Children, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6711626/, Accessed September 29, 2021

Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies, https://www.wvi.org/maternal-newborn-and-child-health/healthy-timing-and-spacing-pregnancies, Accessed September 29, 2021

Interpregnancy Care, https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/obstetric-care-consensus/articles/2019/01/interpregnancy-care, Accessed September 29, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated 7 days ago
Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD