Q: Please Doc, what is the right spacing for giving birth/pregnancies? How old should your last child be before you think of getting pregnant again?
A: Interesting question! And a good one too! 😀 I smile because I had two babies in two consecutive years (2004 and 2005)! They are really a year and 9 months apart but it was kinda embarrassing when people pointed that I practically had them back to back 😀
Truth is, when you and hubby choose to have children is totally up to you but just like everything else in life, there are choices we make that may not be optimal in the long term. Having children at very close intervals (less than one and a half to two years) puts both mother and baby at risk.
For mum, she would not have had enough time to build back her stock of nutrients like iron and folate. Some studies also suggest that she’s also more likely to have placental problems like placenta previa or placenta abruption.
For more details on these placental problems, please click on these link:
For baby, there are risks of being born premature or having a low birth weight when born.
In addition to these, the economic and emotional stress are issues to contend with. Having children is a lot more than bringing them to life, having two toddlers running around all day may very well take its toll 😀
Just as there are risks with babies born too close together, there are also risks for children born too far apart (greater than 5 years). Interestingly, they are the same risks of babies being born premature, having a low birth weight or small size for age of pregnancy. The mother is prone to high blood pressure.
Having said all of these, remember that these are guides. For women who started having their babies late (perhaps from 30 years), it’s difficult to stick with this dictum as they want to make the best use of the childbearing years they have left. And who can blame them 🙂 Remember that if you do find yourself pregnant for another baby while breastfeeding another baby, continue breastfeeding except you have a history of premature babies, premature contractions or multiple pregnancy. Always check with your doctor.
So, in a nutshell, the optimal space between babies should be one and a half to two years and less than 5 years.
Have a great night y’all 😀