|Real Housewives of Atlanta‘s Kim Zolciak gave birth last June and is pregnant again.|
When to have another child is a personal choice and sometimes not entirely within your control! Women starting their families well into their thirties may not have the luxury of choosing wider spacing as diminishing fertility becomes a factor.
|Newly pregnant Tori Spelling gave birth to Hattie last October|
Even so, health-wise it is better to recover from one pregnancy and childbirth before embarking on the next for you and your baby. A review of many studies in this area has shown a significantly higher risk of prematurity, low birth weight, and being small for gestational age in babies conceived within six months, compared to babies conceived within 18 to 23 months, of a previous birth. These risks were still evident for babies conceived within 7-17 months of the previous birth, albeit to a lesser extent than those conceived within six months. If you aim for an 18-23 month gap between pregnancies you’ll have time to recover your energies and replenish your body’s resources.
A smaller gap between babies gets the hard work over with more quickly but the expenses come closer together and there may be more squabbling later as the children’s interests overlap. While, larger gaps give you the opportunity to enjoy each child as an individual and to give them your undivided attention for the first few years. It also means you can spread the cost of having children over a longer period of time.
However, children who are very widely spaced may grow up less close to one another. Sometimes there is resentment from the older child who feels his position has been usurped by a new arrival. Also, the risks of the same birth complications seen with a very small gap between pregnancies kick in for much larger gaps too. The review above found that gaps of 59 months (about five years) or more between pregnancies were also associated with a significantly increased risk of premature delivery, low birth weight and small for gestational age.