Being a mum has brought so much joy to your life and are now thinking of having another one! Many questions will be going through your mind such as:
- What is the ideal age gap?
- When is the best time to have number 2?
- Can we afford another child?
- How will this have an impact on our lives?
What is the ideal age gap?
Many experts have tried to determine the ideal interval between pregnancies but they have yet to come up with a definitive answer. However, there have been studies to try to determine the best time. Here is a summary of the experts’ views:
- An interval of at least 18 – 24 months seems to be the best for the new baby’s health and the mother. The results also showed that with an interval of 18 months and shorter, the risk of having a baby with a low birth-weight and delivering prematurely was higher and this risk was highest if the baby was conceived less than 6 months after the previous pregnancy.
- The studies also showed that if the next child is conceived more than 5 years later, there seemed to be an increase in these risks.
- Experts also think that a mother’s body requires time to recover from the stress of the previous pregnancy and delivery. Lost nutrients such as calcium etc. need to be replenished before embarking on another pregnancy.
- Family study experts however feel that if the first child is under one year or over four years old, this is the ideal time in terms of the child’s relationship with their parents, sibling rivalry and their own self esteem.
When is the best time to have number 2?
An important consideration when planning for your second one would be the mother’s age. If you are in your late 30s and you want 2 or more children, you might not have the luxury of spacing them 3 years apart. But if you were under 30 years of age, with no health issues that could affect your fertility, your timing can be more flexible. Women in their 40s are still able to conceive naturally but fertility rates do drop after the mid-thirties.
Can we afford another child?
Planning of finances is an aspect that some might overlook. You and your partner should look into your financial situation before having a second child. Taking into consideration that each child will cost thousands of dollars a year in expenses, having another one would definitely increase your expenditure and you might need to start saving that little extra before number 2 comes along.
How will this have an impact on our lives?
If you work full-time or have gone back to work after your first child, you would need to consider whether it is possible to continue working as you used to, or should you switch to a part-time job or be a stay-at-home mum. If both of you continue to be in the work force, then you would need to plan for your childcare once you start working again.
Ultimately, it is a personal decision between the couple. Both of you will have to sit down and discuss the various issues involved. Discussing this with other family members/friends might help you make up your mind and plan for the future. So if you and your partner are ready and can’t wait to have another addition to your family, there might be no better time than the present.
By Dr Claudine Tan
Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
SBCC Women’s Clinic
SBCC Women’s Clinic (Ang Mo Kio)
Blk 709 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 #01-2597 Singapore 560709
Tel: 6554 7040
This article was first published in The New Age Parents online magazine
*Update: Dr Claudine Tan is no longer practising at SBCC Women’s Clinicc