Women's  Healthcare Topics is a website about pregnancy and your newborn baby.

Large Family Size

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Do You Want a Large Family?

Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of a larger family.

The size of your family is a very personal decision that both you and your partner should make before you conceive. If you want a large family, there are some things you must consider, including your age and physical health.

When making the decision about your family size, you should take into consideration:

  • Your lifestyle - Does your family or career take priority in your life? If you are career-oriented, do you have a supportive partner or the ability to hire good and reliable childcare? How much time and energy do you have to devote to your children? Just one child or several?

  • Personal and religious beliefs - What are your beliefs and ideologies when it comes to birth control and family planning?

  • Financial Situation - Children are expensive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a middle-income two-parent family will spend over $220,000 on raising a child from birth until their high school graduation. Can you afford to raise more than one child? Are you willing to sacrifice other luxuries to have more children?

There are advantages and disadvantages of both a larger family and a smaller one, and this is something you should think over carefully.

If you are an older woman (over 35) who wants to have many children, you may find that as you get older, you face an increased risk of pregnancy complications.

Grand multiparity is the medical term for women who have had five or more pregnancies. The number of pregnancies can include fetal deaths (babies that die in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy) and stillborns (babies born without a heartbeat).

Grand multiparous mothers are at a higher risk for placenta previa (your placenta grows in the lowest part of your uterus, and this can cause severe vaginal bleeding) and placenta abruption (your placenta detaches from your uterus wall, which may cause vaginal bleeding and can pose a danger to your baby).

Younger grand multiparous mothers (under 35) are at lower risk compared to older mothers with the same number of children. It is very possible that the increased risk of these complications may be related to the mother's age.

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