What are the risks of spacing pregnancies too close together? Research suggests that beginning a pregnancy within six months of a live birth is associated with an increased risk of:
- Premature birth
- The placenta partially or completely peeling away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery (placental abruption)
- Low birth weight
- Congenital disorders
In addition, recent research suggests that a pregnancy within less than two years of a live birth might be associated with an increased risk of autism in second-born children. The risk is highest for pregnancies spaced less than 12 months apart. Closely spaced pregnancies might not give a mother enough time to recover from pregnancy before moving on to the next. For example, pregnancy and breastfeeding can deplete your stores of nutrients, particularly folate and iron. If you become pregnant before replacing those stores, it could affect your health or your baby's health. Inflammation of the genital tract that develops during pregnancy and doesn't completely heal before the next pregnancy could also play a role.