Guidelines on when to get pregnant again vary, although most general guidelines recommend waiting a year between pregnancies. The reasons for this recommendation are mainly for the health of both the mother and the baby.
Low birth weight and preterm delivery
Studies have shown a relationship between short intervals (6 months or less) between pregnancies and low birth weight and preterm delivery. These same studies have shown waiting longer than 5 years (One study cited the effect as beginning at 10 years.) between pregnancies can have the same effect. These studies state the best window for a second pregnancy is between 18-23 months after delivering your first child. Low birth weight and preterm deliveries significantly increases health risks for newborns.
During pregnancy, the mothers body is depleted of important vitamin stores. Not only are these necessary nutrients for the baby to develop properly, but they are also necessary to the mothers health. Taking a prenatal vitamin each day can help reduce this effect, but will not provide everything for you and your baby. These nutrients are also used to make breast milk for your infant. This does not mean you should stop breastfeeding if you become pregnant. In this case, you will need to make an extra effort to eat a variety of foods that provide the nutrition necessary for good health.
Giving birth is very hard on your body. During pregnancy, your body makes several changes, and will need time to repair itself and will need to return hormone levels to normal.
Most women gain a little extra weight during pregnancy. This weight usually comes off easily during the first year of your babies life, especially for women who breastfeed and eat a healthy diet. Getting pregnant before losing this baby weight can make the weight harder to lose later on. Extra weight can also increase your risk of having gestational diabetes.
Reduce your risks
If you do plan on getting pregnant again soon, make sure to continue taking your prenatal vitamins, get plenty of exercise to drop baby weight from your previous pregnancy, and eat plenty of healthy foods to replenish your bodies nutritional stores. Make sure to reduce stress as much as possible, because stress hormones can affect your growing baby. Go to regular prenatal appointments, and discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.