Pregnant Again? How Soon is Too Soon?
Many women who have recently given birth can’t even begin to imagine doing it again anytime soon. They have an infant who takes up all their time and energy, and many have a hard time understanding just how anyone has the ability to raise more than one child at a time. But, there are others who are barely out of the maternity ward and are already thinking of how soon they can get back in. Are there risks to the mother involved with having “Irish twins” or back-to-back babies? Is the age difference between children important in the long run? Is there such a thing as having children too close together?
The Georgia Department of Public Health advises women to space births apart at least 18 to 23 months apart to limit the health risks to the mother. The department advises women that babies born too close together have a higher likelihood of being born premature and being born at a low birth weight. Though these risks are statistically true, it is helpful to remember that most siblings who are born close together develop and are born perfectly normal. Most mothers also will not have a more difficult pregnancy than other mothers, though the increased risks are there.
In the past, women didn’t have any control over family planning so many children were born close together and there was a higher incidence of larger families. With the ease and prevalence of birth control, many women now can plan when (or if) to conceive another child, though some still choose to let fate decide. Fate can create siblings spaced closely together, especially considering that despite breastfeeding and the lack of a period, a woman is actually very fertile in the months following childbirth. Some women actually choose to have children close together because of circumstances such as maternal age, religious beliefs, or simply the desire to have more children and “get it over with”.
Blogger Paulia at BabyLoving.com, wrote in a March 2006 post about her set of “Irish twins” born about one year apart. She found the spacing difficult at first but later realized it was actually a blessing. She wrote, “the first year was tough as I battled two car seats, a double stroller, and a bitter Rhode Island winter. But then, somewhere around the time the girls turned two and three-years-old, something wonderful happened. They had played together from the start, but now they had become best little friends.”
Having children very close together can be hard for the parents at first, but many say that it pays off later on when their kids entertain each other and they can see they created a pair of best friends for life.
Babyloving.com. Web. 1 December 2011. “Irish Twins: Badge of Honor.”
Georgia Department of Health and Social Services. Web. 1 December 2011. “Pregnancy Planning”.