Giving birth is a life-changing experience that brings a wealth of emotions and physical changes. Understandably, many new mothers may begin to think about having another baby soon after giving birth.
However, it is essential to know how long to wait after giving birth before getting pregnant again.
When content creators Carol Katrue and her boyfriend Miracle Baby announced their pregnancy just a month after giving birth, the internet was abuzz with reactions.
While some people congratulated the couple on their expected bundle of joy, many others expressed disbelief and scepticism, questioning whether it was even possible to conceive so soon after giving birth.
The truth is that while it is possible to get pregnant soon after giving birth, it is not always advisable, and it comes with a lot of risks.
Experts recommend that women wait at least 18-24 months before trying to conceive again after giving birth. This is because pregnancy and childbirth take a physical toll on the body, which needs time to heal and recover.
Trying to conceive too soon can increase the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby.
Dr Angela Jones, an obstetrician-gynaecologist, says it is important to give your body time to heal and recover, and to let any conditions that arose during pregnancy or delivery resolve before trying to conceive again.
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She also advises that women should focus on a healthy lifestyle and nutrition during the recovery period, to ensure optimal health for themselves and their future child(ren).
Concieving too soon
One potential risk of getting pregnant too soon after giving birth is the possibility of a false positive pregnancy test.
In the early weeks after giving birth, a woman’s body may still have elevated levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is the hormone detected by pregnancy tests. This can lead to a false positive result, causing confusion and potentially unnecessary medical interventions.
Aside from the risk of false positives, getting pregnant too soon after giving birth can lead to a range of complications.
One significant concern is the impact on the mother’s physical health.
Pregnancy and childbirth take a significant toll on a woman’s body, and attempting to conceive again too quickly can increase the risk of complications such as uterine rupture, premature labour, and haemorrhage.
“The pregnant person’s body needs a chance to recover from the pregnancy itself, normalise weight, optimise nutrition, and potentially resolve pregnancy-related medical conditions, and there is evidence of increased maternal mortality and morbidity with these very closely spaced pregnancies as well,” Erin Stevens, an OB-GYN with Clinic Sofia says in www.parents.com
The risks associated with pregnancy after a caesarean section (CS) are even greater. Women who have had a CS are advised to wait at least 18 months before trying to conceive again, as getting pregnant too soon can increase the risk of uterine rupture.
This is a potentially life-threatening condition where the scar from the previous CS tears open during labour, causing severe bleeding and other complications.
“The overall healing is particularly important for those who have had a C-section,” says Dr Stevens.
“Births that occur 18 months or less apart have a higher risk of uterine rupture, an emergency in which the scar on the uterus opens before delivery.”
Recent research has also found a link between closely spaced pregnancies and a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children.
A study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that children born to mothers who became pregnant within 12 months of giving birth were 50 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than children born to mothers who waited longer between pregnancies.
Another study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada found that women who conceive less than six months after giving birth are at higher risk of complications such as premature labour, low birth weight, and neonatal death.
The study also found that women who conceive within 12 months of giving birth are at higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition that can cause high blood pressure, kidney damage, and other complications.
Another potential risk of getting pregnant too soon after giving birth is the impact on the mother’s mental health.
Talk to your healthcare providers
Pregnancy and childbirth can have a significant effect on a woman’s emotional well-being, and attempting to conceive again too soon can exacerbate existing mental health conditions or lead to new ones.
In addition, having two children close in age can also be financially challenging. The cost of childcare, diapers, and other baby essentials can add up quickly, and it may be difficult for some families to manage the expense of two young children.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, it is essential to talk to your healthcare provider before attempting to conceive again.
The best time to start trying again can vary, depending on various factors such as the cause of the miscarriage, the timing of the miscarriage, and your overall health. While some studies suggest that women can safely try for pregnancy immediately after a miscarriage, without any concerns, other studies recommend waiting for a few months to allow the body to heal and recover fully.
If you have any underlying health conditions that may have contributed to the miscarriage, your healthcare provider will work with you to address those concerns and make a plan to reduce the risks in your next pregnancy.
It is essential to give the body time to heal and recover fully. Waiting at least 18-24 months before trying to conceive again can help reduce the risks of complications for both the mother and the baby.