"So when are you planning on having baby number two?"
It's a question that many parents start hearing mere seconds after having their firstborn baby. People are forever curious as to how couples are planning on building and organizing their families. So when is the golden time to start thinking about another baby? Should you have them back to back, as your Aunt Debbie suggested to you over Thanksgiving dinner? Or should you wait exactly two years as your best friend did with her children? Is there a "right" time to pull the trigger and turn that only child into a big brother or sister? According to science, there might actually be!
According to a recent Canadian study focused on the length in between pregnancies, women should wait roughly 12 months to 18 months before deciding to get pregnant once again. The time between the end of one pregnancy and the conception of the next is known as an interpregnancy interval. When looking at shorter interpregnancy intervals, (defined by less than two years by more standards,) varying risks exist for every six months. So a woman might expect to face more severe risks if she becomes pregnant int he first six months following the birth of her baby, as opposed to getting pregnant 28-24 months following the birth of her child.
Shorter interval pregnancy risks include preterm labor, smaller sized infants and even stillbirth. If a mother had a cesarian section and became pregnant in the six months following her surgery, her risk of uterine rupture can also increase as well. Aside from physical hazards, medical professionals note that these quick turnaround pregnancies can lead to mothers suffering from reduced vitamin and mineral reserves, the physical demands of breastfeeding and the emotional recovery of becoming a parent in the first place.
While science has it's mind made up as to when another baby should be added to the brood; it's important to note that countries that are generally regarded as higher-income earning nations don't see much of an increase in the risks associated with short intervals between pregnancies. This is likely due to the availability of specialized medical care and technology for mothers and children.
All feature image credit goes to Katusha Henderson, you can check out her blog here.