Rihanna has announced that she is pregnant again, just nine months after the birth of her first child.
Her managers confirmed her pregnancy shortly after her appearance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
The singer and beauty mogul, 34, and her partner, A$AP Rocky, welcomed their kid on May 13, 2022, after revealing her pregnancy in January of that year via images of the couple in New York.
With that in mind, Rihanna’s babies might be born between a year and 18 months apart, depending on how long she’s been pregnant, which has yet to be revealed.
Being a new mother, having another child, and giving her first public performance in seven years… the actress has a lot on her plate.
But what are the potential health consequences of having babies so close together, and what advice is available to parents in a similar situation? Lesley Gilchrist, the co-founder of My Expert Midwife and qualified midwife, explains.
How many having many babies affect your health?
While every woman is different, having just one baby can have a mental and physical impact, so, unsurprisingly, having two in fast succession can be much more taxing.
“We know that pregnancy and childbirth have an unavoidable impact on a woman’s physical and emotional health,” Gilchrist says.
“Her body, mind, and emotions will be influenced differently and, consequently, will recover or adjust to a new reality with more or less ease, depending on her age, her physical and mental condition before and during pregnancy, the sort of birth she had, and what her experience of labor and delivery was.
“The physical impact of pregnancy and birth on a woman’s body can extend beyond what is visible or measurable.”
Hence, having babies close together adds another layer of complexity. Infants born within a year of each other were historically referred to as “Irish twins,” a term now less commonly used due to its derogatory and stereotyped origins. However, the concept still piques people’s interest.
“Recent evidence suggests that a six-month gap between pregnancies increases the risk of preterm birth [being born early] and having a baby that is small for gestational age [the time between conception and birth] for women of all ages, as well as the risk of serious health complications for women over 35,” says Gilchrist.
“An interval of at least 12 to 18 months between pregnancies is advised here as carrying the least danger to women and their newborns.”
While these are significant aspects to consider, the decision ultimately rests with the individual and her circumstances.
“A woman would ideally feel supported by her family and healthcare providers, and already aware of her existing expectations and those that a fresh pregnancy and newborn infant would entail, before deciding how long to wait between pregnancies,” Gilchrist adds.
“It is every woman’s option how long she decides to leave between pregnancies, although it is crucial for her to be aware of the information to make an informed choice. Her healthcare providers will assist her in her decisions and journey.”
What recommendations do you have for mothers who are expecting twins?
According to Gilchrist, mothers who want to have their babies close together would have thought about a variety of factors beforehand.
They include fundamental yet critical practicalities. “From time off work, childcare arrangements/costs, and transportation (vehicle, prams, baby carriers! ), to sleeping arrangements, weaning, tandem feeding… all of this is pertinent and crucial,” she explains.
Other factors to consider include the woman’s emotional well-being (including time for self-care) and physical health.
“Emotionally, she may need to de-brief from a past traumatic birth experience, feel supported in dealing with and managing her anxiety or depression, and feel safe expressing the responsibilities of being pregnant and caring for a newborn while also caring for a young baby/toddler,” Gilchrist says.
Ladies should also evaluate how physically prepared their bodies are for another kid soon after.
“Every situation and setting is different, and some women may require more or less time to recover from or acclimatize to the process of having a baby,” Gilchrist adds.
“Physically, she may require more or less time to recover from tears, an episiotomy [cut], or a C-section wound, or she may require physiotherapy input to strengthen her pelvic floor, resolve incontinence, relieve hip/back pain, or correct diastasis recti [when two muscles that run down the middle of your stomach separate during pregnancy].
“Women who give birth by Caesarean section should wait at least six months before having another child, while 12-18 months is considered optimum, to allow the wound to heal well.”
While the decision is ultimately yours, consult with your healthcare practitioner to determine how safe it is for you and your family to have another baby so soon after your last.