How Long Should I Wait Before Having Another Baby?
Baby fever is back again! Isn’t it funny how fast you forgot about the long and painful hours in labour? Perhaps you are still trying to figure out the postpartum phase with the late-night feedings and sometimes sleepless nights but it hasn’t been a discouraging factor. Both you and your partner are now thinking and looking forward to adding one more member to the crew.
If having a couple of children is something you have always dreamed of, you may be wondering what is the recommended spacing. There might even be a little more pressure for some couples who might feel like they are running out of time especially when they think of age. The fact is that family planning which also will involve pregnancy spacing is important but they are a couple of factors to consider. Let’s discuss them.
What makes it so important?
Generally, knowing whether you do or don't want to have children in the next few years can help you prepare for conception or choose appropriate contraception. For those who are already parents, family planning could be slightly different. This is because just like the impact your first child had in your life so will the next one. You’ll need to ask yourself if both you and your partner are ready to care for a newborn again and also how your other child or children will react to attention now being divided.
This is what makes the timing of your pregnancies important. As much as you and your partner have your plans and preferences about how close to one another your children should be, research shows that the spacing does affect both the mother and baby. The time between giving birth and getting pregnant again is called birth spacing, pregnancy spacing and inter-pregnancy interval (also called IPI).
So, how soon can we try and get pregnant after having a baby?
Ideally, it is recommended to wait at least 18-24 months but less than five years between pregnancies. This means your baby will be at least 1½ years old before you get pregnant with another baby. Doing this gives your body time to fully recover from your last pregnancy before it’s ready for your next pregnancy. Again waiting too long between pregnancies might cause health problems.
What if I had a miscarriage? When should I try again?
If you had regular menstrual cycles before your miscarriage, your period should return within four to six weeks after your miscarriage. It’s possible to find yourself pregnant again, even in the first cycle after a miscarriage. But sometimes, it could take several cycles to get pregnant again even if you begin trying right away. While there is no official medical consensus on how far to space out your subsequent attempts at pregnancy following a loss, many doctors advise waiting for about three months before trying again. When in doubt talk to your doctor before trying again.
What if I don’t wait long enough between pregnancies?
Failing to wait before your body recovers, increases not only your risk but also the baby to different types of complications. Some of the risks include:
Premature/pre-term birth - This means your baby is born too soon, before 36 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies are more likely to have health problems and have to stay in the hospital longer than babies born full term.
Low birthweight - This is when your baby is born weighing less than 2.2 kgs or 5 pounds.
Being small for gestational age (also called SGA) - This means your baby is smaller than normal based on the number of weeks he’s been in the womb.
Uterine rupture - Having a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean delivery poses greater risks if not completely healed.
What can I do to get the spacing right?
Here are a few tips on what you can do:
Wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again - Give your body this time to recover from your last pregnancy.
Use effective birth control until you’re ready to get pregnant again - You can chat with Grace in the app to learn your options before booking an appointment with your doctor and discussing it further.
If you had a miscarriage or stillbirth or are older than 35, talk to your provider about how long to wait between pregnancies - waiting for 18 months may not apply to you in this case.
Even with the best plans, things won’t always go your way. Every woman’s cycle is different. Most women won’t start ovulating right away after having a baby, but the return of the menstrual cycle ranges widely for women. It’s advisable to wait and give your body time to heal before your next pregnancy. Keep in mind other factors like weight, stress, smoking, breastfeeding, diet and contraceptive choices that are also likely to affect the return of fertility. If you are thinking about having another baby, speak to your doctor first.
Stay informed, stay in control We hope this was helpful