You’ve probably heard the mantra- “Hum do Hamaare Do”. But not much is said about the middle years between the births of “hamaare do”. “Going with the flow” on this is not very wise! 

Somewhere down the line, we also know that family planning involves a lot of thinking underneath the going with the flow. Important financial, emotional and relationship-related decisions and priorities are involved. Child spacing should be one of them. If you are planning for more than a single child, having a healthy interval between the birth of your two children is the best thing that you can do for both your children, you and your partner. But what are the things you need to keep in mind here? 

Read on as we bust some common myths about child spacing

1. Oh come on, One can’t always plan these things! – NOT TRUE

  • You can always plan when to have your next child, the choice is yours
    Many couples feel that the order and births of their children are best left to fate or to God. For some other couples, it’s the male or the male’s family that decides such questions. While these factors shouldn’t be totally dismissed, you’re better off not making them the centre of your decisions. So you’ll do yourself a favor by actively planning.

    And the key elements of planning here are – 
  • Remember that the decision to have a child is yours and your partners! 
  • Do not get influenced by family and society pressures 
  • Avoiding unintended pregnancies by taking precautions for contraception, and,
  • Consult your doctor regarding health implications and when it is a safe time to have another child.

2. Birth Interval doesn’t really have major health effects! – WRONG

  • Less gap between child birth is dangerous for both the mother and the child
    Statistical findings across countries suggest that the chances of the second child dying are much higher if the birth interval is lower than 2 years after the birth of the first child. Such children are twice as likely to die between the age of 1-4 as children born after longer intervals. If you’re a mother, you will benefit from the adequate interval as it reduces chances of death or other pregnancy-related complications in you as well.  Besides, it allows your family as a whole to be more emotionally and mentally prepared for the next child.

3. There is no minimum “right” birth interval anyway! – SAID WHO?

  • There is a recommended interval which ensures good health of both mother and child
    Contrary to this perception, Research by organizations like UNICEF suggests that having a second child within the space of 24 months i.e. 2 years of having the first child is usually considered potentially hazardous .  It is recommended that there must be at least 2-3 years of gap between the birth of the first child and conceiving the second.

    This Gap allows the mother to look after herself and recover from the birth of the first child. She is able to regain all the lost nutrients that she would need to ensure the health for a second child. Rushing through to having a second child could be risky for the health of both the mother and the child. The recommended minimum right interval does exist, so pause and think before jumping into having a second baby! 

4. The risks apply only to certain sections of our society – THINK AGAIN? Is it really true? 

  • No matter what your background is, child birth requires equal attention
    You might think that the effects of child spacing are only in places and communities where there is malnutrition or poor healthcare. But the truth is that – Bad planning in child spacing can affect the mothers and children from all social, economic or cultural groups equally. The importance of child planning is therefore, for all people around the world – irrespective of the class or society they belong to. 

5. Except for the 2-3 year interval, no more thinking is required on child spacing – ARE YOU SURE? 

  • Child birth and decisions around it requires proper planning and communication
    So you’ve sworn against having a child in less than 2/3 years of having your first. But it still leaves you with some homework on child spacing to be done. Although the recommended gap is 2-3 Years, a couple should always consider other factors which can impact the gap duration between having 2 children.The appropriate gap for you will be specific to your biological, social, financial and psychological health.

    Based on one’s own situation – a couple must decide on how many years should you wait before the second child. Hence dialogue and transparency with each other is vital! Right from deciding upon methods of contraception to be used to discussing real-life aspects of having the second child. This decision is totally up to you and your partner. 

    You can consult a family planning counselor to help you make a more informed and confident decision – find a clinic nearest to you. 

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