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Are You Getting Pregnant with Your Second Child Too Quickly?

posted: 04/22/15
by: Blythe Copeland
baby older sibling
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Having children too close together can hurt your (and your baby's) health.
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Tired of people wondering when baby No. 2 is on the way? The next time someone asks, point them toward a recent study from the CDC, which found that nearly 30 percent of moms have children too close together. Most doctors suggest allowing at least 18 months between children to allow your body to fully recover, and for U.S. moms, the average is about 2.5 years. Research shows that waiting less than 18 months (or longer than five years) between kids can increase your risk of pregnancy complications like preterm birth, low birth weight, and other complications.

According to the latest CDC study, which looked at 83 percent of births in 2011, about 50 percent of moms waited 18-59 months to have another child, while only about 20 percent waited longer than five years between pregnancies. That leaves approximately 30 percent of women who leave less than 18 months between their children, which may put your health at risk.

But if you're expecting, well, sooner than expected, there's good news. Siblings who are closer in are able to play together and (hopefully) entertain themselves. And, they'll be in school at the same time, which will help with carpooling and after-school activities. Plus, the CDC study looked at different factors -- including age, race, education, and marital status of the mothers -- but the research is far from conclusive. Because there are thousands of factors that go into having a baby, they were quick to point out that more research is required to see if the time between pregnancies affects mom and baby's health or if there are other factors (e.g., maternal age, socioeconomic status, or pregnancy health behaviors) that also play a larger role.