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How long should you wait to get pregnant with your next child?
A new study says there's a medical danger to having a child too soon between pregnancies. - photo by Herb Scribner
Be cautious about deciding when to have your next child. A new study found that women who have pregnancies less than a year apart are more likely to have osteoporosis later in life than those who wait longer to get pregnant again, according to GMA News.

Specifically, the study found that women who had pregnancies no more than 12 months apart were four times more likely to get osteoporosis than those who waited longer than a year, GMA News reported.

We already know from previous studies that postmenopausal osteoporosis is directly influenced by the pregnancy itself as well as other variables in obstetric history such as breastfeeding and age at first pregnancy, Dr. Gulcin Sahin Esroy, the studys lead researcher, told GMA News.

To find this, researchers looked at the reproductive histories of 239 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and 298 women who had thinning bones, GMA News reported. The women who had pregnancies within a year of their last one were more likely to get osteoporosis. In general, womens bones tend to weaken after menopause, GMA News reported, which puts women at risk for osteoporosis.

Esroy suggests women should wait two years between pregnancies to minimize their risk. This isnt an uncommon thought among researchers. Dr. Nanette Santoro, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado, told GMA News that women should wait longer than a year between pregnancies.

There are fewer pregnancy complications in women who wait its recommended to wait at least two years, Santoro said.

Elroy and Santoros suggestions are backed by data, too. A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology said moms should wait 12 months before getting pregnant again if they dont want to have a preterm birth.

The study found that women who become pregnant six months after having their first baby were 41 percent more likely to have preterm births, and those who waited anywhere from six to 12 months were 14 percent more likely to have preterm births. Any pregnancies a year after having a first child were not linked to preterm births, according to the study.

Similarly, a 1999 study said women should wait at least 18 months before their next pregnancy to prevent preterm and unhealthy births.

Women, on average, follow this advice. A study earlier this year found most women wait 2.5 years to have their second child, which is a healthy wait time.

But the recommended length of time between pregnancies depends on each individual mother, The Huffington Post reported. For example, celebrity Jessica Simpson announced she was pregnant for the second time just seven months after giving birth to her first baby. Her second child had a healthy birth.

"If you were to frame it in absolute terms, is she putting her life at risk? No. Are there significant complications that must be avoided at all costs? No," Dr. Heather Shapiro said in 2012.

Shapiro said women should consult their own medical and family histories to see if their body can handle another pregnancy so soon after the first baby.

Each case should be based on the individual and women who've had past medical concerns during pregnancies should speak to a professional if they have more questions, The Huffington Post reported.
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