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Child Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Pregnancy Spacing

Narrative

The amount of time between a live birth and the beginning of the next pregnancy, or the interpregnancy interval (IPI), can impact the health of both mother and infant. Short IPIs (generally defined as less than 18 months)1,2 have been associated with adverse perinatal outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and small size for gestational age3 as well as adverse maternal outcomes including uterine rupture among women attempting a vaginal birth after a cesarean, placental abruption and placenta previa.4

In 2006-2010, 33.1 percent of pregnancies among females aged 15-44 years were conceived within 18 months of a previous live birth. This includes 6.4 percent that were conceived within less than 6 months of a previous live birth, 12.2 percent that were conceived between 6 and 12 months of a previous live birth, and 14.5 percent that were conceived between 12 and 18 months of a previous live birth. The remaining 66.9 percent of pregnancies were conceived at least 18 months after a previous live birth.

Few differences were observed among women with respect to the proportion who conceived within 18 months of a previous live birth. Hispanic women were less likely than non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black females to conceive a pregnancy within 18 months of a previous live birth (25.3 percent compared to 35.5 and 39.0 percent, respectively) as were women with incomes at or above 100% of poverty (30.9 percent) compared to those with incomes below poverty (38.5 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

Non-Hispanic Black women were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to conceive within 6 months of a previous birth (10.3 percent versus 5.4 percent) as were those living in poverty (10.9 percent) compared to those with incomes at or above poverty (4.6 percent), and those with less than a high school education (11.3 percent) compared to those with some college (5.3 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2020 Topics and Objectives: Family Planning. Accessed: 03/21/13.

2 World Health Organization . Report of a WHO Technical Consultation on Birth Spacing. Accessed: 04/15/13.

3 Conde-Agudelo A, Rosas-Bermúdez A, Kafury-Goeta AC. Birth spacing and risk of adverse perinatal outcomes: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2006;295(15):1809-1823.

4 Conde-Agudelo A, Rosas-Rosas-Bermúdez A, Kafury-Goeta AC. Effects of birth spacing on maternal health: a systemic review. AJOG. 2007;196(4):297-308.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

Pregnancy Spacing graph

This image is described in the Data section.

Pregnancy Spacing by race graph

Data

Pregnancy Spacing Among Women Aged 15-44 Years with a Previous Live Birth,* 2006-2010

Percent of Women

  • Fewer Than 6 Months 6.4
  • 6-12 Months 12.2
  • 12-18 Months 14.5
  • 18-24 Months 12.2
  • 24 Months or More 54.7

*Limited to births occurring in the 5 years before the interview. Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and Statistics Program.

Pregnancy Spacing Among Women Aged 15-44 Years with a Previous Live Birth,* by Race/Ethnicity, 2006-2010
Race/Ethnicity Fewer Than 18 Months 18 Months or More
*Limited to births occurring in the 5 years before the interview. Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and Statistics Program.
Non-Hispanic White 35.5 64.5
Non-Hispanic Black 39.0 61.0
Hispanic 25.3 74.7
Non-Hispanic Other (Includes individuals of 2 or more races) 29.5 70.5
Total 33.1 66.9