Two under two – is having kids close together more dangerous than we think?

toddler girl and baby lying together on bed

What is the age difference between your children? A new study shows that 30 per cent of women are waiting less than a year before becoming pregnant again. And, according to experts, this could be harmful to both mum and bub.

The Center for Disease Control recently published a study suggesting that 30 per cent of US mums do not wait long enough between having babies. According to Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, a reproductive health researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, this number is “actually pretty high and very problematic.”

What is the best age gap between babies?

Bocanegra and other experts in reproductive health warn mums to wait at least 18 months between babies. This allows a mother’s body to recover and decreases the chance of baby being born too early or unhealthy. Not waiting long enough between pregnancies can result in a lower birth weight for the second bub as well as a greater risk of a pre-term labour.

The study focuses on 36 states in America and represents 83 per cent of the nation’s births in 2011. While 30 per cent of mums find themselves pregnant again within the first year of bub being born, the median age gap between children is two years and five months. The study also suggests that the older the mum is, the longer the spacing between a birth and her next pregnancy.

toddler boy and baby lying together on bed

The benefits of having children close together

While experts suggest that having children so close together may be harmful, most mums who have done it will argue that there are plenty of positives as well. Having another baby so soon means that the symptoms are fresh – this can result in a more relaxed approach to your pregnancy. With a new one on the way, you can also push your intentions of returning to your pre-baby body back another year or so.

Back to back pregnancies also means you are getting the hard months over and done with. Sure, you’re exhausted from chasing a toddler around all day and staying up with a newborn all night, but in a couple of years both kids will sleep, both will be out of nappies and both will be more independent.

And, perhaps the biggest benefit of having two under two is your children will most likely be friends for life. There really isn’t anything quite like watching your children play, explore and grow up together. You may even find that you can leave them to play by themselves, giving you time to cook dinner or enjoy a cuppa without the need to constantly entertain.

But is there really an ideal age gap between children? My children are two years and seven months apart and this worked for us. But what about you? Do you have two under two or did you wait longer between your children? Do you agree with the study or did you find having back to back pregnancies was actually more beneficial than harmful?

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