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Short Intervals Between Pregnancies Likely To Decrease Subsequent Pregnancy Length

Update Date: Jun 04, 2014 09:54 AM EDT

Women who have short intervals between pregnancies of less than 18 months are more likely to see a decrease in the length of subsequent pregnancies, according to a new study. 

The study looked at 454,716 live births from women with two or more pregnancies over a six year period. Researchers focused on determining the influence of inadequate birth spacing on the duration of the subsequent pregnancy. 

Researchers concluded that short intervals between pregnancies result in decreased pregnancy length overall. They also concluded that women should be counseled on the importance of optimal birth space, especially for reducing preterm birth rates. 

"Short interpregnancy interval is a known risk factor for preterm birth, however, this new research shows that inadequate birth spacing is associated with shorter overall pregnancy duration," said Emily DeFranco, Assistant Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio and the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and co-author of the study, in the press release.

"This study has potential clinical impact on reducing the overall rate of preterm birth across the world through counseling women on the importance of adequate birth spacing, especially focusing on women know to be at inherently high risk for preterm birth."

"We know that inadequate birth spacing is associated with more adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth, in many countries like the US," added John Thorp, BJOG Deputy-Editor-in-Chief in the press release.

"This large population-based study further strengthens this and puts more emphasis on the importance of optimal birth spacing, of 18 months or more, especially among women with additional risk factors for preterm birth."

The study has been published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 

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