It is better to wait 18 months between two pregnancies, especially for women over 35 years old. Otherwise, the risks for the baby and the health of the mother are too great.
We now know the ideal interval between two pregnancies to optimize the health of the mother, especially when she is no longer young: 18 months. This is the result of a new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
"Our research has revealed increased risks for both mother and infant when pregnancies are close together, especially for women over 35," said study director Laura Schummers. "The results for older women are particularly important because they tend to space their pregnancies more closely and often do so intentionally."
Risks for the health of the child and the mother
In general, becoming pregnant less than 18 months after giving birth leads to high-risk pregnancies for women of all ages. But mothers aged 35 or over combine, in addition to the risks for the infant, risks for their own health.
Researchers analyzed nearly 150,000 Canadian medical records of mothers and their babies. As a result, mothers aged 35 and over who conceived a new child six months after giving birth presented a risk of 1.2% (12 cases per 1,000 pregnancies) of maternal mortality and a 6% probability of giving birth. child prematurely. Waiting 18 months between two pregnancies reduced these risks to 0.5% and 3%, respectively.
Improve access to postpartum contraception
Women aged 20 to 34 who conceived a new baby six months after giving birth had a risk of preterm birth of 8.5%, while women who waited 18 months saw this risk decrease by almost 5%.
For all women, therefore, "the recommendation could be the same: to improve access to postpartum contraception or abstain from unprotected sex with a male partner after birth," concludes Dr. Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
For twenty-seven years in France, the number of late pregnancies has increased. According to INSEE statistics, 17.5% of babies born in 2004 have a mother aged 35 and over (and 3.3% a mother over forty), whereas they were 14% in 1995 and 8% in 1980.