Planning Your Next Baby

Published on 15 June 2010

Women, especially those who are already in their 30’s may feel their biological clock ticking away before they complete their family. However, there are some factors to be considered in determining the interval between births of their children.

In general, for the welfare of the mother and the baby, doctors often advise at least two years interval before having their next baby so that their bodies have enough time to recover and stock up sufficient maternal nutrients.

Why Space Births

There may be very personal reasons why time is needed between pregnancies. Planning enough time between pregnancies increases the chance of a good outcome for the mother and each of her babies. If a parent has experienced a miscarriage or loss of a child, they may need time to grieve, evaluate their risks and work through their fears and anxieties before considering another pregnancy. A couple or their child may have a medical condition which needs to be managed before they are able to begin or continue childrearing. Or, a woman may be in her later reproductive years and be feeling the need to have her pregnancies spaced closer together in order to achieve the family size she desires. A planned pregnancy is more likely to have a good outcome for the mother and baby.

How It Affects The Baby

Babies who are born too soon after their older sibling be delivered prematurely and have low birth weight. This is because the mothers do not have enough time to recover from the previous birth and for the body to build up on nutrients for the foetus. Conversely, mothers who space their babies too far apart face similar risks – older mothers are physically weaker and this too has an impact on the health of their babies.

How It Affects The Mother

Short intervals between births can also be bad for mother’s health. There is a greater risk of bleeding in pregnancy, premature rupture of the bag of waters and increased risk of maternal death. A time interval of six months or more after finishing breastfeeding is also recommended before becoming pregnant again for the mother to be able to rebuild her nutritional stores.

Sibling Rivalry

 If you have another child while the older one is still a toddler, the sibling rivalry will be greatly felt. Young children need to form an attachment to their mothers to feel secure. With a new baby in the family, the older child may act up for a while because he no longer has Mummy’s undivided attention.

Financial Stability

While the Baby Bonus (monetary incentives for couples to have more than one child) helps, having children is a long-term commitment. There are the costs of the daily necessities like milk, diapers and child-care which can get very expensive, not to mention, the cost of education.


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