According to the Associated Press, new research indicates that there’s an ideal window for having a healthy baby. No sooner than 18 months after your last baby was born, but no more than 5 years later.

Why?

Researchers in Colombia studied over 11 million births from around the world. And they found that spacing babies too closely together or too far apart raises the risk of complications, like premature birth and low birth weight.

Here’s the deal: Since pregnancy and breastfeeding deplete nutrients from a mother, waiting at least 18 months between pregnancies allows a woman's body to recover. That way, she can do her best to develop another healthy baby.

On the flip side, when a woman waits too long between births, her reproductive capacity can be depleted, which could lead to poor fetal development, and a low birth-weight baby.

Bottom line: with better family planning, millions of infant deaths worldwide could be prevented.

So one more time – the ideal spacing between births is no less than 18 months apart and no more than 5 years.