There are many reasons why you may end up facing pregnancies close together in time. Perhaps you have siblings of your own that were close in age and always enjoyed having built-in playmates, and you want your child to have the same experience. Or maybe you are an older mom and feel time is not on your side, fertility wise, and feel the need to complete your family quickly. A second pregnancy close in time to your first could also be an accident. Whatever the situation, if you're facing pregnancies close together, you may be concerned whether there are any health risks to having children that are close in age. For healthy moms, chances are good you'll be fine. Your doctor may want to monitor you a bit more closely, but for most women, except for extreme fatigue, there won't be any other complications.
According to the American Society of Hematology, having two children close together can increase your chances of becoming anemic, which is when your blood doesn't have enough iron in it. This can happen during pregnancy anyway because the increase in blood volume can make it difficult to get enough iron. This can be a particular problem if you get pregnant again quickly after birth because your body may not have time to build up iron stores again before needing extra iron once again. In addition to close together pregnancies, this can also be a problem for women who are pregnant with multiples, as more than one baby requires even more iron than a singleton pregnancy.
Having children close 12 months or less apart in age can cause the mom to have placental issues that can be dangerous for both her and the baby. In some cases, a placental abruption can happen with the second child, in which the placenta detaches or peels away from the uterine wall, partly or entirely. For moms who had a Cesarian section with the first pregnancy, having another baby within a year also increases the chances of getting placenta previa, in which the placenta is too low and covers the cervix, making another C-section likely.
MayoClinic.com reports that there has been evidence that when two children are born 12 months apart or less, there is a greater likelihood of the second child having autism than in the general population. This is based on a 2011 study and not absolutely conclusive, but it is a possibility.
Low Birth Weight
Children born 18 months or less after their older sibling may have some size issues. For example, the second child may be low birthweight or a smaller size than his big brother or sister. There is also a higher chance of the second baby being born prematurely.
Moms who had a C-section with their initial pregnancy may face another problem with the second child. If you had a C-section and have another baby within 18 months, you may face risks if you attempt a vaginal birth this time around. This is because the uterus may still be weak at the incision site and is at an increased risk of rupturing during labor.
Having one baby can be tough to cope with, physically and emotionally. Having two babies close in age can be overwhelming, as you likely will have two in diapers and possibly two still using bottles. It can also be a challenge financially, as you might not be able to reuse some baby items from your first, as that child is probably still using items such as her crib or high chair.
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