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For Babies' Sake, Pregnancy Spacing Matters
Date:12/16/2009

Study finds 6- to 11-month interval lessens complication risks

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- If that little bundle of joy has had such a profound impact on your life that you just can't wait to have another, take a breath. A new study suggests that you might want to wait at least six months before getting pregnant again, and that more than 11 months could be even better.

The study found that when the interval between pregnancies was less than six months, the chances of the baby dying, being born prematurely, having birth defects or having a low birth weight were significantly higher than among those who waited more than 11 months between pregnancies.

"Recommending optimal pregnancy spacing as a health intervention represents an easy, accessible and low-cost means to improve pregnancy outcomes," said the study's lead author, Dr. Sorina Grisaru-Granovsky, director of the maternal-fetal medicine division in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The study, published in the December issue of Contraception, recommends more than 11 months as the optimal interval between pregnancies.

Past research had suggested that a short time between pregnancies was associated with premature birth, growth restriction in the womb, stillbirth and other causes of early infant deaths and even maternal death. Theories abound as to why a short interval would cause such problems, including depletion of critical nutrient stores in the mother during the initial pregnancy, a hormonal imbalance during the postpartum period and the physical stress associated with breast-feeding, according to the study.

To better assess the effects that time between pregnancies might have, Grisaru-Granovsky and her research colleagues reviewed information from an Israeli national database. They included information from 440,838 live births that occurred in Israel from 2000 to
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