One-Third of Moms Have Babies Too Close in Age

Women should wait at least 18 months for their bodies to recover, CDC says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2015 10:44 AM CDT
One-Third of Moms Have Babies Too Close in Age
In this March 3, 2015, file photo, a couple holds up their 2-year-old daughter in Seattle.   (Ted S. Warren)

For US moms, the typical time between pregnancies is about 2.5 years, but nearly a third of women space their children too close, a government study shows. Experts say mothers should wait at least 18 months to give their body time to recover and increase the chances the next child is full term and healthy. The study released yesterday by the CDC found that about 30% of women who'd had a child became pregnant again within 18 months. "That is actually pretty high and very problematic," says a reproductive health researcher at the University of California-San Francisco not involved in the new study. The report is based on 2011 birth certificates from 36 states and the District of Columbia, representing about 83% of the nation's births that year. It was the first such report by the CDC, so researchers don't know if pregnancy spacing has changed over time. Other findings:

  • The median time to the next pregnancy was two years, five months. About half fell in the 18 months to five-year range; about 20% had babies more than five years apart.
  • White women had the shortest spacing: about two years, two months, on average. Black and Hispanic women typically waited 2.5 years or longer.
  • The older the mom was, the longer the spacing between a birth and her next pregnancy.
(Read more pregnancy stories.)

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