Pregnancy spacing and family planning

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Planning for your next baby can be an exciting thought. Adding a new member to the family always brings more joy. Mostly the couples trying to conceive for a second or third time usually look at the financial concerns in bringing in a new addition to the family.

What needs to be paid the most attention is the woman’s health. Pregnancy, birth, and breast feeding can be severely taxing upon the lady’s health so much so that, as per research studies, babies born within 12 months of the last child are often premature and have low birth weight as compared to babies born after 18 to 23 months of the first child.

It would make good sense for the lady to let her body heal and recover and gain back the nutrients lost in the process of delivery.

Having another baby or not can be a psychological and emotional question too. Life changes when a baby comes in. All the well-planned routines go haywire. Everything is done as per the baby’s schedules and requirements. While you are still adjusting to the changed life post a baby, going for another one will be nothing short of an emotional turmoil. Looking after the needs of two tiny tots can be a daunting task.

While you may want a not too big an age gap between your children, studies suggest that too close pregnancies take a toll on the health of both the mother and the babies. The new baby born is often low in its birth weight. The mother suffers a lot of problems due to all the blood lost during delivery and in not able to pay full attention to the children, the older child may often find himself wanting in care and affection.

Experts believe that closely spaced pregnancies don't give the mother enough time to recover from the physical stress of one pregnancy before moving on to the next. For example, pregnancy and breast-feeding can deplete the stores of essential nutrients such as iron and folate. If you become pregnant before replacing those stores, it could affect your health as well as your baby's health.

Too close a pregnancy may take a psychological toll on your first born. The child may feel ignored or neglected due to all the care you may show towards the new baby!

Keep all these points in mind before you conceive for the second time. Using contraception methods like a condoms or intrauterine devices like a copper T or birth control pills is a safe option till the time you are physically, mentally, and financially ready for your next child.