Birth-spacing improves children's health

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association said intervals of 18-23 months between pregnancies posed the least health risks for babies.

In an analysis of 67 studies from 1966 to 2006 -- a third of which were conducted in the United States -- Colombian researchers determined that intervals shorter than 18 months and longer than 59 months increased the risk for three negative outcomes of delivery: low birth weight, preterm birth and small size for gestational age, The Washington Times reported.

Interpregnancy intervals shorter than six months were associated with a 1.4 times greater risk of premature birth; 1.6 times greater risk of low birth weight; and 1.26 times greater risk of SGA.

"Maternal nutritional depletion" is a "plausible explanation" for why short periods between pregnancies can mean harmful birthing outcomes, particularly in developing countries.

This hypothesis holds that a "close succession of pregnancies and periods of lactation worsen the mother's nutritional status" because there is not enough time for her to recover physiologically.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Citation: Birth-spacing improves children's health (2006, April 20) retrieved 24 September 2023 from
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