If you’ve already had a baby and are planning for more children, it’s best to wait at least 18 months between birth and getting pregnant again. Getting pregnant before 18 months increases your risk for certain health problems for your baby like premature birth, low birthweight and being small for gestations age (SGA).
We receive many questions through AskUs@marchofdimes.org from women who have become pregnant again in less than 18 months and want to know how to have a healthy pregnancy.
As soon as you learn you are pregnant schedule your first prenatal care appointment with your health care provider. After your first appointment be sure to continue to go to all of your prenatal care visits, even if you are feeling fine. If you have not already, start taking a prenatal vitamin with 600 mcg of folic acid in it every day to help prevent neural tube defects in your baby.
Experts don’t know for sure why getting pregnant again too soon increases your chances of complications like premature birth. So the best thing you can do is be prepared – know the warning signs of preterm labor:
- Change in your vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or bloody) or more vaginal discharge than usual
- Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby is pushing down
- Constant low, dull backache
- Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
- Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly tighten like a fist. The contractions may or may not be painful.
- Your water breaks
If you have even one sign or symptom of preterm labor, call your health care provider right away. If you have preterm labor, getting help quickly is the best thing you can do.
Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.