Having Kids Too Close Together Can Have Dire Health Consequences

There are a million different ways to family plan out there these days, and it's more and more common to see couples taking advantage of them. But could we be doing it wrong when it comes to spacing our children? Experts say that moms should wait at least a year and a half after giving birth to try for a second kid ... but a full third of women are getting pregnant again too soon.

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The new stats on "interpregnancy intervals" (which is really just the amount of time between pregnancies) comes from the CDC, who got their data by studying a sample of birth certificates from across the country.

Their researched showed that, on average, American moms wait two years and some change before getting pregnant again -- which is actually a good amount of time, according to experts.

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It's the 30 percent or so of women who jump too quickly into their second (or third, or fourth) pregnancies that are more "problematic" because they don't give their bodies enough time to heal before giving birth again. That can make the next birth more difficult and decrease the chances that the baby will be full-term and healthy.

But here's the thing: Doctors also recommend that you have all your kids by the time you're 35. And today, women are waiting a lot longer to start families, which shrinks that "optimal" range of years to have kids to just a handful ... which isn't really enough to create a big family, if that's what you're looking for.

So what's worse: Pushing them out quickly or getting pregnant past your prime years?

If one third of women are choosing the first, then that's obviously the popular choice. But who's to say what's right? It's ultimately up to your body and your family.

The study also found that typically, white moms get pregnant a few months sooner than black and Hispanic moms, who wait about two and a half years on average.

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Also, the older that moms gave birth, the longer they tend to wait between pregnancies. A total of about 20 percent of moms waited more than five years between kids -- which is a lot of moms waiting a pretty long time.

How far apart are your kids in age?

 

Image via sonya etchison/shutterstock

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