Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas Inc.

Family Planning

Thinking about another baby?

It hits every woman at a different time. Some are affected during their baby's first year. Others are affected as their baby's second birthday looms.

What is it? It's the day you begin wondering just when you and your partner should start thinking about another child. It usually has something to do with your baby becoming more independent and your personal yearning for "babydom" again. You've recovered from the effects of your pregnancy and caught up on your sleep. Another baby doesn't seem like it would be that difficult!

“Experts” have long recommended women wait at least two years before having another child. Why? For health of the mother, baby and siblings.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested heeding the two year advice can produce a healthier baby. According to the findings, waiting 18 to 23 months between delivering and conceiving again can reduce the likelihood of having a premature birth or low birthweight infant. In the study, a woman becoming pregnant within six months had a 30 to 40 percent greater chance of a premature or low birthweight infant.

Researchers feel the probable reason is the mother is still recovering from vitamin depletion and other post-partum stresses to the body. The bottom line: Your body wants you to wait awhile before putting it through the arduous process of pregnancy again.

Aside from the physical reasons, emotionally you may feel more comfortable with an older child during another pregnancy – making you more relaxed and less stressed. This reduction of stress can help lead to a healthier birth outcome.

In addition, an “older” sibling should be better able to emotionally handle the addition to the family. Your older child will be able to assist and feel part of the process - not neglected. This alone can make a tremendous difference to all members of your family during this transition period.

Talk candidly with your medical provider. Knowing your desires and medical history, your provider can help you determine the “best” timing for making an addition to your family. Your provider also can provide you with family planning advice that will suit until you (and your body) are ready for another pregnancy.