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Why inter-pregnancy planning is important

In this section you will learn about the importance of the inter-pregnancy planning.

Planning the timing of a further pregnancy is an important consideration as physical and mental health may still be compromised following the previous pregnancy and time is required for recovery. 


A short inter-pregnancy interval of less than 12 months increases the risk of pregnancy-related complications, including preterm birth, low birth weight, stillbirth and neonatal death.   

Universal care should be offered as with any pregnancy planning, considering physical, mental, social health needs and supporting or referring for advice where indicated: 

  • Smoking 
  • Alcohol 
  • Optimising weight 
  • Managing longterm condition 
  • Medication review 
  • Supporting mental wellbeing 
  • Restarting folic acid and vit D supplements 
  • Cervical screening if due or overdue 
  • Rubella immunisation if required 

Targeted care may also be indicated where women have had previous pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal problems including: 

  • Gestational diabetes 
  • High blood pressure in a previous pregnancy 
  • Complicated delivery or previous Caesarian section 
  • Foetal concerns during pregnancy including low growth or foetal abnormality 
  • Any mental health concerns for the mother or the father during or following a previous pregnancy. 

A discussion with a healthcare professional may be recommended before deciding on the timing of a subsequent pregnancy. 

  • Consider how you can offer non-judgemental advice and support to women about the importance of pregnancy spacing. 
  • Can you think of opportunities in your work to discuss the importance of pregnancy spacing with men?  What might the challenges be and how could you manage these? 
  • Do you appreciate the health risks that are specific to pregnancy and the local pathways for support and advice if women have experience physical or mental health concerns in previous pregnancies?