There may come some soft-lit morning when you and your partner are gazing lovingly into your baby’s eyes. As the gauzy curtains blow in the breeze, you will smile at the mother of your child and say, “Darling, I desperately want to increase the blessings of this family.” To which she will smile back and with a gentle sigh say, “Same.”
Just kidding. It’s more likely one (or both) of you will just get drunk enough to forget the thanklessness of raising the first kid and decide you want to have another because why the hell not? But then you’ll arrive at the next question: Is it the right time? Well, it depends.
Lack of sleep is an amazing form of birth control. The same goes for the dried spit-up in your partner’s hair. And neither of you will be into getting it on after you kid does the old poop-up-the-back trick on the drive home from Grandma’s. But some people will plow ahead (pun definitely intended) despite all of the above.
However, it’s important to note research suggests that a woman who gets pregnant before waiting at least 18 months may have a higher chance for a whole raft of problems. There appears to be no clear reason for the increase. Some suggest that your partner’s post-pregnancy biology, paired with breastfeeding, could deplete important nutrients and minerals she might need for a healthy pregnancy, like folate.
Whatever the reason, couples thinking of conceiving prior to 18 months after the birth of a previous child should consider the possible health implications of doing it again too soon, including:
- Preterm birth
- Low birth weight
- Placental abnormalities
- Increased chances of autism
Bizarrely enough, research also suggests that pregnancies spaced 5 years or more apart also come with their own problems. And those problems happen to be pretty similar to having another kid too soon.
Again, medical science is at a bit of a loss as to why this might be the case, but then, they still can’t explain why women think Willem Dafoe is sexy, either. Many think it’s possible that the reproductive health benefits that do arise after pregnancy essentially wear off in time. Clearly, that’s not the case for Willem’s sex appeal.
The Goldilocks Period
There does appear to be a time period where pregnancy’s benefits to the womb are aligned perfectly to lower risks of complication in the next pregnancy. That interval puts the ideal conception time at 18 to 23 months after the birth of the previous kid, which is honestly about the time your partner might be willing to let you do this to her again.
That means your kids will be roughly two and a half years apart in age. Just enough time to forget what a pain in the ass it was to put together a crib, though not quite enough time to have sold the old one on Craigslist.
The Bottom Line
Of course, only you and your partner know what’s going to work best for your family dynamics and circumstances. But it’s important to plan ahead. Think about what could happen once the natural birth control of baby grossness wears out. It’s only a matter of time before the dried baby spit-up in her hair starts going from to icky to kinda cute and charming.