How Long to Wait Between Pregnancies

When you want to have more than one child, you might wonder how long to wait between pregnancies. BBC News recently published an article about a new study that details the ideal length of time between pregnancies.

According to the World Health Organization, women should wait 18 months between giving birth and becoming pregnant. However, this new study has found new evidence about how long women should wait between pregnancies. We wanted to talk about the study, as well as what the findings tell us about the risks and benefits of different lengths of time between giving birth and becoming pregnant again.

About the Study

The study was done by researchers from the University of British Columbia and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. They looked at approximately 150,000 births from a population of women in Canada.

The results showed that in contrast to recommendations from WHO, women only need to wait 12 months between pregnancies. The authors of the study hoped that this news would be reassuring to women who feel pressure to or want to become pregnant soon after giving birth, especially when considering the risk of pregnancy sooner than 12 months following birth.

Risks of Shorter Time Between Pregnancies

Dr. Wendy Norman, senior author of the study says: “Achieving that optimal one-year interval should be doable for many women and is clearly worthwhile to reduce complication risks.” While there are risks for women of all ages, there are also more specific complications associated with women 35 and over. Dr. Norman hoped that this study would be especially helpful for them, as older women “…tend to more closely space their pregnancies and often do so intentionally.”

Some of the risks associated with a shorter time in between pregnancies are:

  • Premature births
  • Smaller babies
  • Infant or mother mortality.

For women aged 20 to 34 that only waited 6 months between pregnancies, there was an 8.5% chance of premature birth. For women age 35 or above, there is a greater risk of harm or mortality for the mother. There is also a 1.2 % chance of infant or mother mortality when the mother only waited 6 months between pregnancies.

Benefits of Longer Time Between Pregnancies

The study found that achieving at least 12 months between pregnancies was ideal for reducing complications and health risks. And waiting even longer showed a dramatic decrease in health complications.

For example, when women over 35 waited 18 months, the risk of mortality or harm to the mother was reduced from a 1.2% chance to a 0.5% chance. For younger women who waited 18 months between pregnancies, the risk of premature birth decreased from an 8.5% chance to a 3.7% chance.

Pregnancy Care at A Woman’s Healing Center

At A Woman’s Healing Center, we want our patients to feel supported, no matter the decisions they make for themselves and their families. If you need birth control options to help you wait longer between pregnancies, we can help you find what will work best for you. If you’re in the early stages of considering another baby, we can help support you with family planning and making sure you’re at optimal health before trying to conceive.  And when you do get pregnant, we’re excited to be a part of the wonderful story that is your pregnancy and baby’s birth.

Whatever your need, we’ll be here for you.

If you want to speak to someone about pregnancy, birth control, or other planning questions, please get in contact with us, or fill out the form below. You can also take a look at our resources on pregnancy and birth control by clicking the links below.

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