Women are always being warned that their biological clocks are ticking, which may make them feel rushed into expanding their families faster, but new research suggests slowing down is better for mama and baby. According to a new study from the University of British Columbia and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, new moms should wait at least a year after giving birth to get pregnant again to avoid putting themselves and their baby at risk.
Researchers looked into nearly 150,000 births in Canada and found women who waited 12 to 18 months to get pregnant after having a baby cut the risk of short- and long-term health issues for both mother and child. The risks to the moms were only found in women over 35 but the risks to the infants were found in women of all ages, but were greatest in those between 20 and 34.
And waiting a year or longer before conceiving makes a big difference. The study found that a short gap between pregnancies affected women over 35 more, raising the risk of spontaneous preterm labor (giving birth before 37 weeks) to 6% at the six month mark. But if the women waited at least 18 months to get pregnant again, it drops to 3.4%. Study authors say these findings are especially important for older women, who tend to space their pregnancies closer together on purpose, since time is of the essence.
“Older mothers for the first time have excellent evidence to guide the spacing of their children,” explains Professor Wendy Norman from the University of British Columbia. “Achieving that optimal one-year interval should be doable for many women and is clearly worthwhile to reduce complications.”
Source: Women's Health