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Many Obstetricians Support Short Interpregnancy Intervals

Two-thirds endorse waiting time of less than six months after stillbirth despite higher risks

FRIDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the fact that interpregnancy intervals of less than six months are associated with poorer outcomes, a majority of obstetricians support interpregnancy intervals of this length for parents who are bereaved by perinatal death, according to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Katherine J. Gold, M.D., of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a survey of 1,500 randomly selected U.S. obstetricians. The survey asked the physicians about their experiences with perinatal death to assess their attitudes about the best timing of next pregnancies and what advice they give to parents.

The researchers found that, of the 804 obstetricians who completed the survey, two-thirds support a waiting time of less than six months for parents who recently experienced a stillbirth and wanted to attempt another pregnancy. Specifically, 27 percent said the parents could try "as soon as they feel ready," 10 percent said they should wait for one or more normal menses, and 33 percent recommended waiting for two to five normal menses. Thirty-one percent advised waiting at least six months.

"[Physician] responses may reflect efforts to support parents emotionally while recognizing individuals vary in coping and clinical circumstances. However, this is a provocative finding since short intervals may confer greater fetal risks for poor outcome," the authors write.

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