Health Risks to Keep in Mind for Back-to-Back Pregnancies
Back-to-back pregnancies are common, with parents wanting to take advantage of flexible work schedules when they have them. But that busy life CAN take a toll on the family's health.
Back-to-back pregnancies seem to be the thing to do nowadays, with many parents shirking birth control in favor of letting nature take its course. There are tons of benefits to having kids close together (default friendship for the kids and a rapid progression through diaper days for mom and dad!). However, doctors do warn about health risks for both mom and baby when pregnancies are close together.
Low birth rate and prematurity are more likely to occur when the mother gets pregnant within six months of the first child’s birth, likely due to depleted nutrients in the mother’s body that haven’t had a chance to build back up yet. In fact, a 2011 study showed that children born within one year of another sibling are three times more likely to be diagnosed with autism. Experts point to decreased folate levels in the mother’s body after having a baby and suggest that a strict nutritional routine can help combat those issues.
Stress on the family is another concern, with parents more worried about finances and attention between children when siblings are close together, and the potential for sibling abuse being much higher for kids who have yet to learn boundaries. Complications that arose during the first pregnancy—such as thyroid issues, blood pressure problems and excessive weight gain—can be aggravated during a subsequent pregnancy, particularly if the woman’s body hasn’t had a chance to bound back.
New pregnancies also trigger hormones in the woman’s body that can make ongoing breastfeeding more difficult. Breasts become more tender and the taste of breast milk can change, causing some babies to wean themselves when their mother becomes pregnant with a sibling. Many moms, however, are able to successfully breastfeed throughout an entire pregnancy.
Have you dealt with back-to-back pregnancies? How did you make sure to foster health for the whole family?
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