Here’s exactly how to figure out the best gap in between kids and also determine the ideal time to try for a 2nd baby.

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By Valerie Howes September 8, 2021


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Photo: iStock/Anastasiia Stiahailo


My sister has always been a planner. After offering birth to her first son, she time things specifically so there’d it is in a three-year period gap in between him and also her second baby. Climate she did the again between her second and also third. She favored the idea of her kids being close enough in age to relate to one another, yet no so close that they’d compete for their parents’ attention.

She obtained lucky: her her body and also life scenarios co-operated, and also her plan resolved exactly together she’d hoped. However it no all plain sailing: eventually that three-year formula didn’t just help my nephews have actually a tighter bond, it was necessary for her no to rush into acquiring pregnant again. My sister essential that time to recover from all-day “morning” sickness; a C-section for she breech middle child; and also a pelvic injury indigenous carrying and also delivering his 11.3-pound little brother, i m sorry immobilized she for weeks and also took several much more months to heal.

Planning for a 2nd baby deserve to be a complex equation, with hopes, dreams, health and also pragmatism all in the mix. Right here are some of the large questions to ponder, prior to trying to get pregnant again:

What’s the ideal age gap between kids because that sibling bonding?

My sister’s three-year formula appeared to work: mine nephews space grown increase now and they’ve been there for each various other through every little thing from schoolyard drama come surgeries to damaged hearts. But we all know siblings with considerably smaller or larger age gaps than my nephews, who nonetheless formed unbreakable bonds. And we likewise know close-in-age sibs that can’t stand each other.

Your very own childhood experiences will likely aspect into her decision. “My brother and I were 6 years apart and that felt choose a big gap cultivation up,” claims Morgan Charles, a mother of 2 in Toronto. “So, we began trying because that a second when our first was comes up for 2 years old; I want them to be fairly close in age, because I didn’t have that.”

Or you could decide that time, because your firstborn is begging for a baby sister or brother. It is what happened to one more mother of two, Ni No Wong, who resides on Fogo Island, in Newfoundland and also Labrador: “I placed off having one more baby, due to the fact that I was enjoying mine time through the very first so lot I didn’t want an additional child to dilute the love, attention, time and also money. Likewise I was working full time, so ns couldn’t imagine myself through two toddlers in the house,” she said.

Her mind adjusted when she daughter started asking for a sibling at roughly the period of four–and once friends who prospered up as an just child said Wong they had actually felt very lonely in ~ times. Wong started trying again, and says it to be a good decision for everyone. “My eldest daughter is five years and three month older 보다 my youngest. Lock still dealt with like crazy when they to be little, yet they are really close sisters now.”

Really over there is no magic age-gap that works for all families. In planning for infant two, it is essential to go v what feeling right and also fits our individual circumstances. Ann Douglas, author of Happy Parents, Happy Kids and also the The mommy of All books series, says you need to ask yourself if you’ll be able to parent in a means you have the right to feel good about, if you add another baby to the mix nine or so months from now. “If her goal is a healthy and balanced sibling relationship,” she adds, “you want to make sure there’s enough of friend to go around—that you have actually the volume to satisfy the needs of both of her children.”

How soon can you get pregnant after providing birth—and is it even feasible if you nursing?

If you space not lactating, you will start ovulating again between about six weeks and also three months after providing birth. If you room nursing exclusively, you might not begin ovulating again until six months later—or even beyond that, says Roberta Mackenzie, an OB-GYN in Toronto.

But even if girlfriend haven’t had actually your period since giving birth, the doesn’t typical you can’t acquire pregnant, claims Mackenzie. That’s since many ladies actually ovulate before their first period. “If you’re nursing, at the very least every four hours, and also not giving any kind of supplementation, then the chance of ovulation is quite low. But as soon as formula or solids room introduced, or if you’re just nursing at night or just a couple of times during the day, it’s feasible you’ve already started come ovulate and also your duration is around to come back.”

The key takeaways: If you planning to have actually sex, yet you’re not planning to gain pregnant, use birth control! but if you do want to obtain pregnant quickly, you should be mindful it might be lot harder to conceive if you continue nursing long term and also frequently. “Sometimes friend do need to make a selection there, since your ovulation is most likely being propelled back,” Mackenzie says.

What space the threats of acquiring pregnant as well quickly?

The people Health company recommends waiting 18 to 24 months in between giving birth and also getting pregnant again, to reduce the threat of stillbirths, reduced birth weight babies, and pregnancy complications.

Mackenzie notes, however, that she and her partner see plenty of Canadian parents trying again in a shorter time frame, there is no such problems arising. Indeed, a new study from Curtin University challenges the validity that the who guidelines in higher-income countries. Lead researcher Dr Gizachew Tessema argues that the who based its references on limited evidence from resource-limited countries. His team conducted a bigger study, focused on pregnant outcomes in countries, such as the US, Norway and Australia, and the result looked rather different: “We compared roughly 3 million births from 1.2 million women v at least three children and discovered the hazard of adverse birth outcomes ~ an interpregnancy term of less than 6 months was no greater than because that those born after ~ an 18-23-month interval,” that concluded.

Mackenzie does introduce planning an 18-24-month interval in between pregnancies, if you have a background of preterm births or infant loss. However if she in great health and not living with far-ranging risk factors, she claims six month is generally long enough. “The crucial is making certain you room both physically and also mentally well prior to you obtain pregnant again,” she says.

But just how do you recognize if you physically and mentally ready to obtain pregnant again?

Pregnancy (and raising tiny humans) is demanding, so you desire to it is in in the finest health possible, before you have actually a 2nd child. Problems such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and far-reaching weight get or birth injuries from the last pregnancy have the right to put both the parent and infant in ~ risk. “All those points can and should be handle in the interpregnancy interval,” claims Mackenzie. That can mean taking the moment to implement lifestyle changes, adjust medication or let your body totally heal.

The gynecologist notes that optimizing mental health is just as important. “Having 2 young kids can be exhausting, and also if a woman has any kind of mental wellness issues, that absence of sleep the comes v young kids can exacerbate those issues,” she says. Because that anyone who has experienced mental wellness challenges, particularly postpartum depression or anxiety, it’s necessary to have actually a setup in place for how to identify and manage symptoms, must they show up in the following pregnancy.

And having actually a hard support device is necessary too, regardless of her mental health history. Follow to Douglas, every parent should look at what resources will be accessible to them, before they flourish their family. “I’m not simply talking about finances, I’m additionally talking around how much hands-on-help and also support you can count top top from other people. Due to the fact that as your family grows, your need for help grows, too. And sometimes exponentially!”

How long after a C-section have the right to you gain pregnant?

If you’ve had a C-section, the time you must wait prior to trying to acquire pregnant again depends in part on even if it is you desire to try for a vaginal distribution next time. “Having a effective vaginal delivery is commonly lower hazard to mom and to baby contrasted to a C-section,” says Mackenzie. “So countless women who’ve previously had actually a C ar would love to shot for a vaginal delivery next time, however we understand that the threat with that is uterine rupture, which deserve to be life-threatening.” that risk boosts if the time in between the 2 deliveries is shorter. “Our reference to any woman who would favor to try for a vaginal distribution next time ring is to arrangement for the 2 deliveries to be at the very least 18 months apart,” claims Mackenzie.

The threat of uterine rupture is small, but it’s real, and also it deserve to be life-threatening to both mom and baby. Still, Mackenzie adds that as lengthy as you have actually no contraindication to a trial of labour, you’re motivated to execute so, given the lower maternal and also neonatal morbidity.

What if your an initial child has a medical condition or disability?

Mackenzie says that if the first child had actually special needs, the wouldn’t influence the period gap she’d recommend, however there would certainly be necessary considerations and actions to take, prior to getting pregnant again.

Depending top top the nature that their an initial child’s condition, parents might want come do genetic counselling, prior to trying for a second child. “And we additionally want to do sure, if a very first child has actually a neural pipe defect, that the mother is taking the enough dose the folic mountain for long enough, before trying because that a 2nd baby,” adds Mackenzie.

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Lastly, it’s important to be realistic about energy levels. If your first child calls for a lot of of additional care, professional appointments and also therapies—or if they wake up up repeatedly through the night—you’re most likely running on north at times. Having actually extra supports and childcare in place before you try to get pregnant again—or waiting till your first child has a greater degree the autonomy or beginning school—could make a human being of difference to your household life together a enlarge brood.

How does maternal period factor in?

“With age, yes sir a decline in fertility, and also after the period of 35, yes a nice steep decline—I think many women don’t realize simply how far-reaching it is,” claims Mackenzie. She likewise points to higher rates of miscarriage for females trying to get pregnant in their late 30s or beyond. “My reference for a woman over 35 would still be to prevent those very first six month where, there’s a higher risk of preterm birth and also low birth weight for gestational age. But past that, i don’t understand that I would tell she to wait longer,” says Mackenzie. “You yes, really don’t want to miss that opportunity.”