Parenting · Pregnancy

How long should I wait to have another baby?

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Have you already had a child and you’re ready to have another baby?  Even if you’re just thinking about it, spacing your pregnancies is a good idea.  Just how long should you wait before trying again?

If you are planning a subsequent pregnancy, it’s best to wait & try again within 18 months to 5 years

Why is pregnancy spacing important?

  • Adequate spacing between pregnancies allows time for your body to rest, recover and improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and full-term healthy baby. This means your baby will be at least 1½ years old before you get pregnant again.
  • The physical stress of the previous pregnancy and breastfeeding may lessen your stores of important nutrients such as folate and iron, affecting your or your baby’s health.
  • Having another baby before 18 months increases the chance of baby being born smaller in size, low in birth weight (under 2500g) or born too early, before 37 weeks.
  • If you’ve had a previous caesarean birth, waiting 18 months before becoming pregnant again is strongly advised. Research suggests there is a greater chance of the uterus rupturing in women who attempt to have a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) less than 18 months after a previous birth.
  • Waiting too long – five years or more between pregnancies – can also lead to problems for the next pregnancy, including increasing the chance of having high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia (which can cause organ damage to the liver and kidneys). Baby can be smaller in size at birth, lower in birth weight, or be born too early, before 37 weeks.

Age and a history of infertility are also important factors to consider when deciding how long to wait to have another baby.  An exception to waiting 18 months to 5 years, is if you are older and trying to conceive again.  If you are older than 35, you might consider waiting 12 months before becoming pregnant again.

And, if you’ve suffered a miscarriage or had an induced abortion, waiting at least 6 months to try again reduces the chance of mom and baby having health problems.

Choosing when to have another baby is a personal decision.

Understanding the risks associated with timing your pregnancies too close together or too far apart can help you make an informed decision about when it’s best to expand your family.

For more info on planning a pregnancy, consult with your health care provider or connect with a Public Health Nurse via eChat or (416) 338-7600.

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