Being The Parent

Conceiving In Less Than 12 Months After A Baby’s Birth

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When that second blue line appears in the pregnancy test stick, you ought to get ready for motherhood. But what if you are already holding a tiny tot in your arms?
Pregnant with a toddler
If you planned this pregnancy, then you are already aware of the pros and cons of this pregnancy and you and your partner have enough energy and time for the baby in your arms as well as the baby in your womb.
But in most of the cases conceiving in less than a year after the previous delivery will be an unexpected affair. When you conceive unexpectedly you will get confused and naturally some questions may arise, especially if your periods have not returned.

How Is It Possible To Conceive Before The Periods Return?

Periods is not a sign that indicates that you could conceive. It is the ovulation that decides your pregnancy. The women can ovulate before the periods return after her delivery. You could miss the cue of ovulation as you relate ovulation with periods and get conceived without anticipation.

What Are The Factors That Affect Ovulation After Delivery?

There are mainly two factors that determine the ovulation after delivery.

  • Breastfeeding: Exclusive breast feeding is found to delay the process of ovulation by delaying periods
  • Hormonal pattern of mother: Hormonal changes that take place after delivery affect the ovulation. Each woman’s body will respond to the hormonal levels differently

Read When Will I Get My Periods After Delivery here.

How Can Breast Feeding Suppress Ovulation?

A signal is sent to the pituitary gland and the pituitary gland will release a hormone called prolactin when the baby suckles the breast. The prolactin suppresses the ovulation. As the frequency of the sucking increases, the level of prolactin also increases. Higher the level of prolactin, longer it takes for ovulation.

Why Can’t I Rely On Breast Feeding As A Birth Control Measure?

The accuracy of not ovulating during the period of breast feeding is about 98%. Some other conditions are there which also should considered, like:

  • No bottle (even pumped breast milk), pacifiers, or other supplements should be given
  • Should feed the child at least two times during the night and four times during the day
  • The feeding gap should not be more than 4 hours during day and 6 hours during night

Even if your baby is entirely depending on breast milk, any fluctuation in nursing routine (if the baby slept throughout the night without sucking) can cause ovulation. So relying on breast feeding as a method of contraception is not a good idea.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Spacing Pregnancies Too Close Together?

  • Exhaustion: Having more than one small child at a given time can be exhausting till they reach a certain age. Actually, it is more exhausting than having twins as the needs for both babies differs due to the age difference.
  • No recovery period: Closely spaced pregnancies will not give adequate time to recover from the physical effort of previous pregnancy
  • Chances of deficiency: The stores of necessary nutrients (example folate) can be used up during your previous pregnancy and breast feeding. Entering a pregnancy cycle before replacing those nutrients can effect both mother’s and baby’s health
  • Chances of complications: Sometimes swelling or damaged caused in the genital tract during the previous pregnancy will not heal completely when the space between the pregnancies are closer
  • No prenatal care: Skipping prenatal care is quite common in closely spaced pregnancy which is not appreciable. But due to lack of time and energy, many women do not receive optimal prenatal care in closely spaced pregnancies
  • Insecurity in older child: Parents’ more attention on the younger kid’s needs may develop emotional insecurity among the older ones especially when the older one is below 1 ½ years

Closely spaced pregnancies

What Are The Risk Factors Of Too Closely Spaced Pregnancies?

  • Sibling spacing can be tied with the autism risk according to the latest studies as autism risks of the second child may go up in closely spaced pregnancies
  • The risk of placental abruption (completely peeling away of the placenta from the inner wall of the uterus) is increased as the space between the pregnancies decreases
  • The post-partum bleeding leads to low iron content in mother’s blood. This can lead to anemia. Getting pregnant while anemic affects the health of both mother and unborn baby
  • The risk of placental previa (low lying placenta closing cervix partially or fully) increases especially if the previous delivery is through C-section
  • Preterm birth and low birth weight are associated with closely spaced deliveries

What Are The Risks Factors Of Closely Spaced Pregnancy After A Caesarian?

After a C-section pregnancy, you are supposed to conceive only after 18 to 24 months as your body has been put through a significant reshuffling as the caesarian delivery cause twice as much blood loss than normal delivery. Some of the risk factors of getting pregnant soon after a caesarian are:

  • Chances of the uterine rupture increases: Scar from your previous caesarian can rupture if you get pregnant within 6 months. This is often a catastrophic complication that is life threatening to both mother and child
  • Higher risk of premature birth: This preterm birth is related to low level of iron in the body of the mother due to the heavy loss of blood from the previous caesarian delivery
  • The chances of placental accreta increases: During the second pregnancy, the chances placenta get into the uterine wall, where there is the scar from the previous caesarian exist, increases. This condition called placental accreta can create complication during the pregnancy and delivery

Before trying for a closely spaced pregnancy; to go through the sleepless nights and the endless diaper changes all at once, just weigh its pros and cons.





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