What Are The Risks Of Back-To-Back Pregnancies? Experts Weigh In
Sometimes it’s planned, other times it’s a surprise, but there’s nothing unusual about having “Irish twins” — a pair of siblings who are only about a year apart. Many people who are the product of closely spaced pregnancies have positive memories of the special bond forged with a sibling of similar age. From parents’ perspective, it may be difficult initially, but ultimately it can be a relief to get your whole family here as quickly as possible and move on from the pregnancy and diapers stage of life. But what are the risks of back-to-back pregnancies? If you only think about the big picture, you may not have considered how back-to-back pregnancies affect your body and your emotional wellbeing.
Whether you’re already pregnant or still figuring out how you want to space your children, it’s time to learn the physical effects and risks of back-to-back pregnancies on you and your unborn baby, along with some tips for coping. Romper spoke with two OB-GYNs over email, Dr. Amy Peters of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, and Dr. Yen Tran of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Together, these two doctors provide differing perspectives on the risks and physical effects of closely spaced pregnancies, breastfeeding while pregnant, and what you can do to maximize your wellbeing and make life easier during a challenging time.
For starters, the physical shape you’re in at the beginning of your second pregnancy contributes to the effects on your body. According to Peters, “a nine-month interpregnancy interval could make it difficult for the mother to be her healthiest for the second pregnancy.” In particular, “she may not have lost all of the weight gained, and she could be increasing her risk for gestational diabetes in the second pregnancy.”
If the pregnant mother is still breastfeeding her previous baby, Peters observes that “weaning naturally occurs fairly quickly, although I have had a couple of patients who continued to nurse their first [child] during the entire second pregnancy.” But Peters points out that weaning may occur whether or not you’re trying to because “milk supply frequently declines during the second pregnancy.” As for why this is, she explains that “pregnancy requires about 300 calories extra per day and a lactating woman may require 500 calories extra, so combining those together may make it challenging for some women to have adequate nutrition and hydration.”