Give yourself a break (between pregnancies)

Birth spacing: Another reason to say "Thanks, birth control!"

For women who want two or more kids, we hear that having them close together can be great. But if you go that route, science says there are some great reasons to wait at least 18 months between pregnancies. There’s strong evidence that waiting a year and a half or longer (the World Health Organization recommends 2 years) between pregnancies is better for the health of the younger child.

A new study confirmed that in the U.S., one in three next pregnancies happen less than 18 months after the birth of the last baby. There are lots of reasons why women might not be waiting the recommended length of time after giving birth. Many women may not know about the recommendations, some women may be concerned about future fertility, and some women might think they can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding.

For many women it’s easy to get pregnant soon after giving birth—so it’s a good idea to start using birth control right away. Fortunately there are plenty of birth control options can use right after giving birth—even if you’re breastfeeding. So if or when you’re expecting, ask your health care provider to make a plan to send you home with a newborn and your preferred birth control method.

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.