Length of Time Between Pregnancies Can Impact Preterm Birth: Study

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By Anisa Arsenault, Associate Editor
Updated February 28, 2017
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Thinking about having another baby after you’ve gone through a preterm birth? A new study suggests you might want to wait — for the health of your next baby.

The new study, to be presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual conference Thursday, says that the length of time between the delivery of one baby and the conception of the next can impact whether or not you’ll experience preterm labor.

Researchers looked at 11,535 women whose first babies were premature (before 37 weeks of gestation). Their conclusion? Waiting less than 12 months between delivery and the birth of baby No. 2 raises a woman’s risk of severe preterm birth — if she experienced preterm birth the first time around.

“Women with preterm birth are advised to postpone their next pregnancy for at least 12 months to prevent another preterm birth,” says Bouchra Koullali, M.D., from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam.

Of course, preterm labor isn’t always preventable. Last month, a study found that your risk may depend on how much hyaluronon (HA) your body naturally produces (the more it makes, the smaller your risk). Still, there are things that expectant moms can do to lower their risk of preterm labor because giving baby a healthy start helps them avoid potential health issues, and yes, even a better outlook on their future love life.

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