Short birth spacing increases risks
Getting pregnant less than 12 months after birth is associated with risks for women of all ages, researchers find.
The study reveals maternal mortality or severe morbidity risks were increased at short inter-pregnancy intervals among women 35 years or older, but not for women aged 20 to 34 years.
However, increased risks of adverse fetal and infant outcomes and spontaneous preterm birth were more pronounced for women aged 20 to 34 years than for those 35 years and older.
The research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine today (29 October), studied a cohort of 148,544 pregnancies.
RCM head of quality and Mandy Forrester said this is useful research and builds on previous research into birth spacing.
‘Ultimately it will be a woman’s choice whatever age they are about how long they leave between their pregnancies,’ she said. ‘What is important is that they are aware of the evidence around birth spacing and that they make their choice armed with the right information.
‘Health professionals will always support a woman in her choice, which will be about what is right for them and their pregnancy.’
Mandy added that women do also need access to contraceptive advice to allow them to space their births if that is their choice.
‘In the UK specialist family planning service provision is patchy with GPs frequently offering only oral contraception. Specialist services should be available for all women,’ she said.
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