A study released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics based on birth certificates from 2011, indicates that nearly a third of women have their children too close together. This matters because research shows that the timing between a live birth and the next pregnancy, may affect the risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth, low birthweight, and small for gestational age. Research has shown that short intervals (less than 18 months) and long intervals (60 months or more) were associated with higher risks of these health problems.
Most experts recommend that women wait at least 18 months to give their body time to recover and increase the chances the next child is full-term and healthy but women use many factors to determine how to time their next pregnancy. This research study found that while 50% of women waited more than 2 years 5 months, 30% of women who’d had a child became pregnant again within 18 months. White women had the shortest spacing – about 2 years, 2 months on average. Black and Hispanic women typically waited 2½ years or longer.
When (sometimes if) to have the next baby is not a simple question but health factors should be considered as you think about your options.