Back-to-Back Pregnancies- Is it Worth the Risk?
Back-to-back pregnancies are those where your children are born less than 18 months apart from each other. Sometimes, it is a planned pregnancy, and sometimes it may be an accident. Many people prefer to have back-to-back pregnancies, and the reasons for these are many. Some feel that it will be easier to bring up both children together. They will not have to go through the entire cycle all over again, at a later age. Also, having children close to each other’s age will make them excellent company for each other. Also, you can re-use a lot of the stuff you have from your earlier pregnancy.
But are these reasons good enough to have back-to-back pregnancies? Do the pros outweigh the cons or are it vice versa? Let us discuss some of the risks associated with back-to-back pregnancies and then decide whether such pregnancies are worth the risk or not.
Risks of Back-to-Back Pregnancies
• Loss of Essential Vitamins and Minerals:
A back-to-back pregnancy can lead to the loss of iron in the mother, and she can even develop anemia. Calcium is also another mineral that gets depleted during pregnancy. Carrying another life inside your body for nine months is not an easy task. The fetus takes a lot from the mother, and this can weaken her a lot. Delivering the baby is also not an easy process. Pregnancy also reduces your immunity. The mother needs at least a year to recover the vitamins and minerals she has lost, and having back-to-back pregnancies will only weaken her further. You need to give your body time to heal.
Having a premature delivery or even a cesarean birth is a major risk in the case of back-to-back pregnancies. Apart from putting yourself at risk, you are also putting the baby at risk. Premature birth can lead to a large number of health problems in the baby, such as low immunity, risk of under-developed lungs, vision or hearing impairment etc.
• Sleep Deprivation:
A tired and sleep-deprived mother cannot look after herself or her children. After the first pregnancy, you are bound to have a lot of sleepless nights while the baby adjusts to the new world around him/ her. Being pregnant soon after the first baby will leave you exhausted and with no time to look after yourself.
If the second pregnancy is unplanned, it can lead to a lot of stress and mental anguish for the mother. Handling one pregnancy is hard enough with the physical and mental toll it takes on your body, but a second pregnancy soon after can lead to depression and a lot of stress. The mother is already emotionally vulnerable, and an unplanned back-to-back pregnancy can heighten the sense of insecurity.
It has been observed that pregnancy hormones can alter the taste of milk, which means that you may have to wean off your first baby sooner than you intended to. It can also reduce the supply of milk, leaving you with a hungry and irritable baby on your hands.
• Sibling Rivalry:
Having a second baby soon after your second one can lead to sibling rivalry, and your older child may end up resenting the younger one for taking away the attention that was once solely focused on him/ her. At such a young age, a child does not have the ability to understand the concept of siblings and sharing.
• Parental Bond:
It is important to create a bond with your first child before you have a second one. You need enough time to be able to forge that bond and get to know your infant at his developmental age and at the time when he is covering key milestones. If you have a second baby soon after your first one, you may not have much time to create that special bond with your first baby.
Planned or unplanned, if you are pregnant soon after delivering one baby, do weigh the pros and cons of back-to-back pregnancies. Speak to your doctor and keep in mind that your health is of prime importance. Only if you are of sound health and mind will you be able to raise two babies close to each other in age.
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