Family planning matters in the lives of couples, whether married or living together.
Family planning involves preventing unplanned pregnancies, and giving ample allowance in between pregnancies according to the couple’s desire.
A birth spacing gap of six months to one year is considered as a close interval. While a gap of five years or more is referred to as a long interval. Both close and long intervals may pose some risks and health concerns for both the mother and the baby.
What are the risks?
The risks involved in spacing pregnancies too close together are:
- Premature birth
- The placenta partially or completely peeling away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery
- Low birth weight
- Congenital disorders
- Breast milk production (because the mother doesn’t have enough time to recover from the previous pregnancy before having the next)
There aren’t many risks involved in spacing pregnancies too far apart. But the mothers’ chances of preeclampsia are higher and the babies are at increased risk of obesity when they grow up.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that can affect both the mother and child. It is characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage in another organ system, usually the liver and kidneys.
What is the best interval between pregnancies?
For lesser risk for complications and other health issues, research suggests having a gap of at least 18 to 24 months but less than five years after a live birth before trying for another pregnancy.
There’s no such thing as ‘perfect timing,’ even in having a baby. The best time for a couple to have a baby is when they’re fully ready and they both agree that they want a baby. Couples cannot have complete and total control when conception happens. But discussing reliable contraceptive method options will help them make informed decisions about when to grow their family.