CDC: Many women don't wait long enough between birth, pregnancy

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Wed, Apr 4th, 2018

(RNN) - Many women in the U.S. aren't taking enough time between the birth of a child and the conception of another one, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Based on birth certificate data from 36 reporting states, or 83 percent of 2011 live births, nearly 30 percent of women didn't wait long enough, getting pregnant again less than 18 months after giving birth.

The CDC report, released Tuesday, also broke down the average time by race. White women had the shortest overall birth intervals at 26 months, followed by black women at 30 months and Hispanic women at 34 months.

The younger the mother was, the more likely she was to have a short interval between birth and pregnancy - more than two-thirds of teenagers had a short interval. Older mothers tended to have more time between births.

The short interval "may affect the risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and small gestational age," the CDC report said.

Long intervals of 60 months or more were also associated with health risks for the baby. Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy, and failure to progress during labor were among the associated risks, said a 2008 study by the University of Florida Maternal Child Health and Education Research and Data Center.

A short timespan between pregnancies also impacted the mother's health, mentally and physically.

"Pregnancies that occur before a woman has time to regain her health status, replenish her maternal stores (particularly of folate and red blood cells), restore her hormonal balance, or to establish strong bonds with her previous newborn create physical and mental stress that can lead to serious medical complications for both her and her next newborn," the University of Florida study stated.

The date of last live birth item has been newly added to birth certificates, which should help researchers to better understand the trend and its consequences, the report stated. Miscarriages were not studied in the CDC report.

 
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