By: Vickie Porter, MSN-FNP
Shelby County Health Department Family Planning Clinic
Oh, how wonderful and exciting it is to discover you are pregnant! You begin imagining what he or she will look like. Will he/she have my eyes or dad’s nose or will he/she reach back into the family tree and get grandma’s green eye color. Now, let’s fast forward… head in hands, tears flowing as you hear, “you’re pregnant” with child number three, ages 2 years, 10 months and now pregnant!!! This situation is fictional…or is it?
Whether you’re thinking about getting pregnant for the first time or you already have children, it’s important to think about family planning and your reproductive goals. Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. Birth Spacing refers to the time interval from one child’s birth date until the next child’s birth date. There are many factors to consider in determining what is an optimal time interval between pregnancies. Research has shown there are a number of issues which are more likely to occur when a woman is pregnant again within a year of giving birth. These issues include an increased risk of:
- Low birth weight
- Small gestational size
- Preterm birth
- Infant death
- Labor issues such as uterine rupture
Medical professionals recommend new mothers wait at least a full year to have another baby – some even say to wait 2 years! This gives the mothers time to replenish vital nutrients that were lost during child birth and also the recovery time to allow organs to restore back to normal. It can also help ensure that new parents will have the energy and ability to focus on another child.
So, yes it can be exciting to be pregnant and anticipating the birth of a child but it is also a very stressful period of time for the whole family. Speak with your provider of care about a contraceptive method so that you can have a baby when you are physically and emotionally prepared.