You never thought it would happen to you: Your baby is barely four months old and you’ve just gotten the hang of breastfeeding, when suddenly, you start experiencing symptoms you didn’t think you’d feel this soon. Congratulations, you’re pregnant—again! Before you hit the panic button, take a deep breath and see what our experts have to say.
Q: “I’m pregnant again, just four months after giving birth to my firstborn. Is this going to be a safe pregnancy?”
A: According to obstetrician-gynecologist and international board certified lactation consultant Patricia Kho M.D., “The World Health Organization recommends a birth interval of three years or more after a delivery; if not, there’s a higher risk of miscarriage and pre-term delivery.” This is due to the fact that you may not have fully recovered yet from your previous pregnancy and delivery, and also because you may still be anemic and have depleted hemoglobin reserves.
Mary Faith Angat, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at Cardinal Santos Medical Center and Taytay Doctors Multispecialty Hospital, agrees that proper spacing is recommended. However, she says it can be shorter. “Six to 18 months is the ideal minimum to give your body enough time to fully recover and minimize pregnancy complications,” she says. “If you get pregnant less than 12 months after giving birth, it doesn’t necessarily mean there would be problems. It just means that there are things you and your doctor need to be aware of so you can enjoy a safe and healthy pregnancy.”
Dr. Kho says the best way to ensure a safe pregnancy is to take good care of yourself and your unborn child. “Have a good diet,” she advises. “Be extra careful and take prenatal vitamins and iron supplements. As soon as you feel tired, lie down and rest, and have someone help care for the baby.”