Ladies shouldn’t just be getting pregnant because their men are active in the bedroom: Having children is a thing of joy for most families, such that those who are not able to achieve pregnancy immediately after marriage consider it a cause to worry about.
However, while some people do everything to achieve conception, others are able to get pregnant anytime they desire. But some drive this luck too far by getting pregnant and giving birth any how…
The question is, how soon should you return to the labour room after the birth of a child? A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology says women should be encouraged to wait 12 months after giving birth before conceiving another baby. The researchers argue that intervals of less than six months from delivery to conception of the next baby increase the risk of preterm birth (less than 35 weeks) by 41 per cent. They say further that intervals of six to 12 months increase preterm birth risk by 14 per cent; while intervals of 12 to 18 months carry no significant increased risk of preterm birth.
Physicians say while there are no specific guidelines stipulating when a woman should conceive after the last delivery, they warn that pregnancy puts so much strain on the woman’s body because of the need to support the baby in the womb and after delivery.
Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, Dr. Mary Ogidan, says one of the reasons mothers are advised to wait one year before conceiving again is because they may be anaemic as a result of the iron transferred to the baby and placenta during pregnancy, as well as the blood loss that usually attends childbirth.
Women who deliver via Caesarian Section even have more reasons to delay the next pregnancy, Ogidan says. “Women who deliver via a C-Section lose twice as much blood — about two pints on average — as women who deliver vaginally. They must save themselves from possible complications that may result when pregnancies are too close,” she warns.
Such complications include ruptured uterus or a premature or low-birth weight baby, experts say.
When confronted with the fact that many women start raising family late and they may not have the luxury of time, the gynaecologist says for women in their 30s who may be engaged in the race against time, they may start trying to conceive nine months after the first baby, even if they had a C-Section. She says such women must take good care of their health by eating balanced diet and doing everything to stay in top shape, health-wise.
She notes, “It’s not uncommon for women over 35 to have trouble getting pregnant with the second baby, and the risk of having difficulty conceiving increases with age. The best time to get pregnant, however, differs from woman to woman; so, talk to your doctor about your specific circumstances.”
Asked when a woman should commence contraceptive use after delivery, experts have this to say, “Women who have just given birth should wait three weeks before using birth control that contains both oestrogen and progestin, such as the pill, the patch, and vaginal ring. Using these methods in the early weeks after giving birth increases the risk of dangerous blood clots.”
Ogidan says those who delivered via a C-Section or those at risk of blood clots should wait for six weeks after delivery before using any birth control with both oestrogen and progestin.
Does birth control have any advantage? Researchers at Guttmacher Institute, a family planning organisation that advances reproductive health globally, say spacing children has positive impacts on women’s education and participation in the workforce, as well as on subsequent outcomes related to income, family stability, mental health and happiness, and the well-being of their children.
Beyond this, experts say family planning helps you in getting rid of monthly pains associated with your period. The journal, Human Reproduction, notes that cramps are caused by prostaglandins, a chemical that triggers muscle contractions. “When you get your period, your body speeds up prostaglandin production to help shed the uterine lining. Going on oral contraceptives reduces the amount of prostaglandins your body pumps out, so you experience less discomfort,” the researchers say.
Ogidan notes that using combination contraception lowers a woman’s levels of testosterone, which all women make in small amounts. She says this improves the texture of the skin, making it smooth, instead of breaking out in acne or growing excess body hair.
Scientists also say using hormonal birth control makes monthly periods shorter and lighter, so you lose less blood, reducing the risk of anaemia, and leaving you strong, physically.
Ogidan also says women who use birth control pills have reduced cases of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease — a serious infection of the upper reproductive tract which, if left untreated, can compromise a woman’s fertility.
Experts say the progestin in hormonal birth control makes cervical mucus thicker, while research suggests that this forms a roadblock that makes it harder for PID-causing microbes such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea to penetrate the user’s cervix.
In all, experts warn that you should consult your physician before embarking on using birth control pills, as some of them could be dangerous to health.