Trying to figure out the best time to have another baby? The scientific community has something for you to consider. New research shows that women who wait less than 18 months to get pregnant again have a higher chance of having a premature baby, compared to mamas who wait longer. And women who wait less than a year to get pregnant again have twice the risk of delivering a premature baby. Babies who arrive before the 37-week mark may be at risk for numerous neurological disabilities, so it's certainly something worth considering. (In case you're wondering, 40 weeks is an "ideal" pregnancy, and 39 weeks is considered full-term.)
"The most significant birth risks are associated with the shortest birth intervals," says Emily DeFranco, who was involved with the University of Cincinnati study, adding, "We suggest that the obstetric care provider who sees the mother after the birth of her baby would counsel her on optimal birth spacing on her next pregnancy."
Great advice and all, but are women really going to take this into consideration when trying to plan their next kid? There's already so much to think about!
As we've heard time and time again, there's no ideal time to have a baby. And, as far as I'm concerned, that goes for second kids, as well. Sure, if you're incredibly young, healthy as a horse, and don't have to worry about money or work, you likely can "time" your kids for whenever you'd like. But for others, it isn't that easy. There are other things to consider, aside from waiting 18 months to avoid the possibility of premature birth. For instance, moms who had their first around or over 35 might not want to wait that long, as there are a whole host of complications that may arise from advanced maternal age. Which is the lesser of the two evils? (And let's be honest, many pregnancies aren't planned.)
The findings are certainly interesting and, if you're in the position, something to think about. But I can't see too many women out there who desperately want another baby to wait until the timer goes off at a year and a half. It just doesn't work that way. Sorry, science.
What's the spacing between your kids?
Image via Ernst Moeksis/Flickr