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Baby-bunching risks

How soon is too soon to have another baby – for you and for baby?

By Christine L. Chen Jan 2, 2013 8:05PM

Celebrities give us a lot of inspiration to try new things -- a new workout, a new haircut, another baby? In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a slew of pregnancy news around power celeb couples: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (Kimye) and Channing and Jenna Dewan Tatum have announced they are expecting for the first time,  and Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson are having No. 2!

While it’s exciting to live vicariously through our favorite celebs, it can be a bumpy ride to follow all of the pregnancy news, as some experts say a second pregnancy so soon after the first, like Simpson’s, is not always the best idea. Jess confirmed the new addition via tweet just seven months after giving birth; is she engaging in some risky baby business? Experts say that generally, while there are no dire warnings regarding the health of the mom and the baby, but there are a few important things to know.

Chances for carrying a second baby to term are best when there is at least 12 months between pregnancies, according to a study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. When there is less than six months between them, the risk of a preterm birth is 41 percent. There’s a lower risk between six and 12 months, but no significant risk beyond 12.

Twelve months is also a good period of time to help ensure a smooth and safe pregnancy, too, says the Mayo Clinic. If a pregnancy were to begin earlier than that, there could be problems with the placenta, which is what happened when Tori Spelling was carrying her fourth baby. She conceived one month after her third birth, after three prior C-sections. Spelling’s C-section scars reopened, and she suffered severe bleeding from placenta previa,  which can terminate a pregnancy. Thankfully, though, all turned out fine.

For a number of non-life threatening reasons, moms just need time to recover, period. After any pregnancy, a very weak pelvic floor increases the risk for female organ prolapse, in which the uterus, bladder and/or rectum herniate or bulge into the vaginal canal. After breastfeeding it takes time for the body to replenish essential nutrients like iron and folate. And, just think about what having a second baby does to the mother mentally,aside from adding to the usual household mania. Post-partum depression is likelier after a second pregnancy if it was a factor in the first.

Another possible plus for waiting, but not too long: A magic window of time. Another pregnancy within 18 to 23 months could be beneficial because of increased blood flow to the uterus from the last pregnancy.

Indeed, celebrity family stories can infect us with baby fever, but they can also inspire deeper discussions with your doctor about when and how to bring another life into the world, safely and happily.

More on Healthy Living
Tips for birth of a second child
Babies after 40
Multiple C-sections linked to increased complications

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