It's no secret that having a baby changes you mentally and physically, and some things just won't be the same after you've given birth. For mothers who have had multiple babies fairly close together, the changes may be even more pronounced. Although there are definite benefits to having children close in age, learning how back-to-back pregnancies affect you later in life — both the good and the bad — is helpful.
According to the Mayo Clinic there are different risks associated with having pregnancies close together as opposed to spacing them further apart. The risks, however, typically pass after you give birth. As far as long-term effects of having back-to-back babies go, Piedmont Healthcare noted that they're typically minor changes to your body that may or may not disappear with time. Things like increased bladder incontinence, stress incontinence, and even long-term increased stress levels due to changes in your brain are all common lasting effects of motherhood that might be heightened with multiple pregnancies.
Additionally, Baby Gaga noted that the long-term consequences of lost sleep may be more pronounced when you have more than one baby in a shorter period of time. The article stated that long-term sleep loss can impact the immune system, increase stress levels, cause weight gain, and increase health risks in general. The good news is that as your little ones grow, they'll sleep longer and better, but the first few years with more than one baby can be especially hard at nighttime.
Having babies close together isn't all long-term doom and gloom — in fact, it can have some tremendous positives as well. Parents noted that when you have children close together, you're in "baby mode" for less amount of time which means you're able to "get it over with" so to speak and not shift gears from baby to toddler as quickly. Similarly, your body will spend less time in "baby mode" as well which means you'll be able to recover long term without going through pregnancy again.
Knowing how far to space your babies apart is a struggle most parents have to face. Although there's no perfect "age gap," knowing the benefits and potential risks of having babies back to back can make the decision easier for you and your partner.