The average American mother spaces the birth of her children two and a half years apart. But one-third of women don’t allow enough space between children. A study released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 30 percent of mothers become pregnant again within 18 months.

“That is actually pretty high and very problematic,” Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, a reproductive health researcher told the AP.

Reproductive health experts recommend a minimum of 18 months between births, the necessary amount of time it takes woman’s body to recover. Pregnancies spaced more than 18 months apart also have better outcomes for both woman and child.

In addition, the CDC also found that:

  • Spacing between births was directly related to age. The older the mother, the longer the time was between births.
  • White women had the shortest spacing at two years and two months. Black and Hispanic women averaged two and a half years or more.

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