Jessica Simpson seems to have taken a pregnant pause, but possibly a short one, according to Us Weekly and other news reports. The singer and “Fashion Star” mentor may be baby bumping again just seven months after giving birth to her daughter Maxwell Drew.
So far the rumors are unconfirmed. If it’s true, that’s pretty quick for a second pregnancy–and maybe a little too quick, according to health research. Clearly, babies born after closely spaced pregnancies can be perfectly healthy, and any time is the right time if that’s how things work out.
But research does suggest that there is an optimal time for spacing pregnancies, with short and long pauses between pregnancies not as ideal as about 18-24 months.
A 2006 Journal of the American Medical Association multiple study analysis involving more than 11 million women found that babies conceived less than six months after the mother has given birth are 1.4 times as likely to be born prematurely and have 1.6 times greater risk of low birth weight compared to babies born to moms who wait at least 18-to-24 months between pregnancies.
Laura Corio, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist in New York City, agrees with the study and says her best advice is to take a little breather before conceiving again.
“I encourage all my patients to wait at least six months before conceiving after giving birth, especially if they’ve had a C-section,” she says. “I think waiting at least 18 months to two years is even better for the health of both the mother and baby.”
Best not to wait too long however. That same JAMA analysis found kiddos born to moms who wait five years or more between pregnancies had a greater risk of being born prematurely, having a low birth weight, or being small for their gestational age.
Corio says that although timing isn’t the only thing that affects maternal and infant health, the right amount of spacing between pregnancies can definitely help reduce the chances of complications. According to the JAMA report that magic number appears to be more than 18 months, but less than 59 months.
Fortunately Simpson is now in fighting shape thanks to her Weight Watchers sponsored weight loss and she undoubtedly has access to best medical care money can buy. Her only worry may be how to lose any excess baby fat the second time around.
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