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  • March 2023 Pregnancy Spacing: When to Get Pregnant Again Newsletter


Pregnancy Spacing:
When to Get Pregnant Again

Childbirth Graphics is dedicated to nurturing healthy babies and growing healthy families. As part of this commitment, Childbirth Graphics has educational materials covering the importance of preconception planning and care, which play an integral role to help ensure a healthy pregnancy for a healthy baby.

After a child is born, an important part of family planning is deciding when to have the next child. Often, parents are primarily considering how close or far apart in age they want siblings to be, but the amount of time between having one baby and conceiving the next baby can have health implications for the next pregnancy and baby.

Read on to learn more about pregnancy spacing and when to start trying to conceive again, and discover some of our pregnancy education materials and postpartum teaching resources that provide helpful information for preconception and family planning.

A mother prepares her
daughter for a new baby.

When to Get Pregnant Again

It is recommended that most women wait at least 18 months before conceiving a child after the live birth of a previous baby. Waiting at least 18 months before getting pregnant again means the older child will be at least 1½ years old when the mother conceives again. Research has suggested waiting 18 to 24 months after a live birth before conceiving again but not waiting longer than 5 years before becoming pregnant again. Couples who have had a miscarriage do not need to wait to try to conceive again (unless advised to wait by their healthcare professional). Older couples who are concerned about fertility should also talk to their healthcare professionals about the pregnancy interval that is right for them.

The With Child™ Desk Version covers a wide range of
childbearing topics, including preconception planning.

Why Wait to Get Pregnant?

A mother’s body needs time to recover after giving birth to help nurture a healthy future pregnancy. Getting pregnant less than 18 months after giving birth is associated with an increased risk of negative health outcomes, including:

  • Low Birthweight: Babies born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces are considered low birthweight and are at higher risk for health problems.

  • Placental Abruption: Placental abruption occurs when the placenta, which supplies a developing baby with oxygen and nutrients, partly or completely detaches from the wall of the uterus, putting the life of mother and baby at risk.

  • Congenital Abnormalities: These are problems that occur during fetal development that affect a baby’s health and ability to function. Heart defects and neural tube defects are examples of congenital abnormalities.

  • Maternal Anemia: Maternal anemia occurs when the mother doesn’t have an adequate number of healthy red blood cells to provide enough oxygen to tissues in the body.

  • Uterine Rupture: Mothers who had a cesarean delivery in their previous pregnancy are at an increased risk of uterine rupture if attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean.

  • Autism: Children conceived less than 18 months after their mother’s previous birth are at increased risk for autism.

Risks of health complications are highest when conception occurs 6 months or less after a previous birth. Waiting 18 to 24 months to conceive again but less than 5 years after a previous birth is recommended to help reduce the likelihood of health problems. Conceiving 5 or more years after a previous birth also increases the risk of complications.

Waiting at least 18 months helps provide a woman with time to recover and rebuild her stores of important nutrients, such as folate. It also gives her time to reestablish a certain group of microoganisms in her vagina (vaginal microbiome) and heal from inflammation, making her body better prepared for a subsequent pregnancy.

Our Contraceptive Awareness Guide Display
highlights a variety of contraceptive methods.

Birth Control and Pregnancy Spacing

Once a woman has given birth and her health professional has said it’s OK, she can resume sexual activity. If she’s breastfeeding, she is less likely to become pregnant in the first 6 months than if she is formula feeding her baby, but she should still use birth control if she is trying to wait to conceive again. Hormonal methods of birth control may affect a mother’s milk supply, so she should discuss the most appropriate birth control methods with her healthcare professional.

Demonstrate use of barrier contraceptive methods
with our Female Pelvis Contraceptive Model.

Discover More Great Childbirth Education Materials

A healthy baby is the goal of every pregnancy and family. Find more great materials to teach about preconception planning and pregnancy spacing in our pregnancy education materials and postpartum teaching resources.

The information contained in this article is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional.

©2023 Childbirth Graphics®