Why having two-under-2 can be the smartest thing you can do as a parent.
Jessica Simpson is the next poster-mom in the two-under-2 club. With Maxwell and Ace--freshly debuted via photos this week--now on the scene, she has babies that are less than a year-and-a-half apart.
Many women in her spectacular shoes would have been less than thrilled about having babies so close together, but apparently, not Jessica. She first announced her pregnancy on Christmas Day via photo on Twitter, which was quickly followed by a Weight Watchers commercial the next day in which she says she feels, "On top of the world." I say, "Good for you, Jessica. On top of the world with two babies is a great place to be."
Having babies super close together isn't easy on any mother. If you can handle back-to-back pregnancies and breastfeeding, manage double-duty diapers and have the stamina to tackle new-baby colic while taming old-baby's tantrums though, you'll be fine. It requires a skill set that's a few levels above basic multitasking (it's more like wrestling a cyclone). Once you get the swing of it, though, there's nothing you can't handle. And when you're beyond the first year or so, the advantages of having babies close together are huge. The No. 1 advantage? They play together.
Here are some concerns I voiced back when Jessica announced her second pregnancy. They hold true for other mothers in her situation as well.
I'm sure Jessica willl have lots of in-home help to raise those babies and she seems to be happy being a mother. That's not what worries me. It's having two Cesarean sections in under a year-and-a-half that's risky.
Jessica had her first baby by C-section, which was reportedly scheduled because she was afraid of going through labor. Once a woman has one C-section, her risks for placental complications during pregnancy increase. That's because the scar on the inside of the uterus can interfere with placental attachment to the uterine wall in subsequent pregnancies. That not only can mess up the way blood, oxygen and nutrients circulate to and from mom and baby, but can also lead to serious and potentially life-threatening health problems. We've seen a dramatic rise lately in conditions like placenta previa (placenta covers the cervix) and placenta acreta (placenta grows into the uterine wall) and complications like maternal hemorrhage and intrauterine growth retardation. It's no coincidence that the rise in these complications coincides with rising C-section rates.
Another celebrity mom who has had several closely spaced C-sections is Tori Spelling. With her youngest two babies born just 10 months apart, Tori spent a good portion of her fourth pregnancy hospitalized with placenta previa that caused her to have vaginal bleeding during her pregnancy. Then, she suffered a life-threatening hemorrhage after her baby was delivered via her fourth C-section. Tori announced recently, however, that even though she could have lost her life (and left four babies motherless), she still hasn't ruled out the possibility of having more children and presumably, more C-sections.
Mothers all over the world have back-to-back babies and large families and you won't find me judging them. Two of my four babies were born just 18 months apart. It was no picnic for a while there, but it worked out just fine. Two of my four pregnancies came as quite a surprise too and once I got over the shock, turned out to be absolutely wonderful. I was lucky though to have normal pregnancies, labors and vaginal deliveries. If I'd needed a C-section, I wouldn't have hesitated to have one. Knowing what we now know about the risks associated with subsequent pregnancies and repeat C-sections though, I wouldn't have scheduled one without a darn good medically indicated reason.
What we now know is, it doesn't matter whether you're famous or not, every mother, every pregnancy and every birth carries some degree of risk. Why increase the risk of something really tragic happening to you or your baby by signing up for a surgery you don't need?
Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future blog post.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.