Getting pregnant the second time may be harder

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For many women, getting pregnant for the first time may not be difficult. As such, they usually become worried if they can’t achieve the same feat when they start nursing the idea of another baby.

Experts say many things are responsible. You may want to examine them.

According to obstetrics-gynaecologist Alyssa Dweck, inability to get pregnant for the second time is one problem plenty of women face.

Secondary infertility – a.k.a. trouble conceiving the second time around when you had no issues with the first pregnancy – is more common than primary infertility in women, she says. Here are a few reasons why you might be seeing the delay and what to do to speed things along.

Age: Obviously, time will have passed between trying to get pregnant the first and second time, and Dweck says that when it comes to trying to conceive, time is on none of our sides.

“Starting from age 32, fertility begins to decline slightly, then more rapidly by 35,” she says. “At 40, it takes a plunge.” Additionally, with age come certain chronic illnesses that may have gone unnoticed in the previous pregnancy, such as diabetes or thyroid issues, both of which decrease chances of pregnancy.

Weight fluctuations: Whether you packed on the pounds after your first pregnancy or overworked yourself to drop the baby weight and more, drastic weight gain or loss may mess with your hormones – and your pregnancy attempts. Now, more than ever, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to your chances of conceiving.

Bedroom behaviour changes: You may feel like you’re having a ton of sex when you’re actively trying to get pregnant, but there’s a good chance you’re still having less than you did before your first pregnancy. Between having a child at home, time constraints, and fatigue, the numbers might not stack up the way they did when you had an active, child-free sex life. Dweck’s solution? Make having more sex a priority, even if you think you’re having enough.

Stress: People express their frustration when a second pregnancy is proving so difficult despite the fact that they are actively trying, whereas the first baby wasn’t the product of a strict plan. Turns out, trying too hard to get pregnant can kill your chances, due to the mental stress that comes with putting pressure on yourself.

“When your stress level is high, your body goes on high alert to prevent you from getting pregnant under stressful circumstances,” says Dweck; noting that meditation and relaxation exercises have been shown to increase fertility.

First pregnancy complications: For example, if you had a C-section delivery with your first child, there’s a chance that some fertility-interfering scar tissue could have developed inside the uterus or outside in the pelvis, says Dweck.

Secondary infertility: This is, unfortunately, pretty common. The best way you can find out if there’s a problem or not is by charting regularly and timing intercourse around ovulation. Also, don’t rule out your partner just because you’ve had one child. A patient conceived the first child without even trying, and they were sexually active for more than two years before they decided to see the doctor. It turned out the couple both had issues, which they only discovered after two years of trying and many tests.

Specialists treat secondary infertility very differently to primary infertility. This is because the couples have already proved everything works; therefore, we have to look at what’s happened to make it more difficult this time around.

Normally, with baby number one, we say you should be trying for about a year before seeking help; but if number two has not happened after six months of trying, we recommend taking action.

Therefore, be aggressive and ask questions from your doctor if it’s something you’re concerned about.

Marginal fertility: Occasionally, parents can’t conceive again because they’ve been marginally fertile all along and were simply lucky before. And some couples fall into the frustrating category of “unexplained infertility.” Fortunately, this is a rare diagnosis among those with kids.

“If a couple was able to get pregnant before, in most cases, something specific must have changed,” says A.F. Haney, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Chicago School of Medicine.

Indeed, one of the best-kept secrets of the fertility industry is that nearly a quarter of couples seeking treatment are already parents. Some of these patients had trouble conceiving the first time, so they know what they’re up against when they try again. But many others have been stunned to learn that in fertility, past success is no guarantee of future success, as Michael DiMattina, M.D., Director of Dominion Fertility and Endocrinology, in Arlington, Virginia, puts it.

Yet, according to Dr. DiMattina, people suffering secondary infertility are only half as likely to seek treatment as those facing primary infertility. Partly, Dr. DiMattina says, this reluctance stems from emotional denial. “Previously fertile people tend to think, ‘If I just give up coffee or reduce my stress, it will happen.’”

Though such measures undoubtedly enhance general health, he says, “they won’t cure infertility.” To complicate matters, busy obstetrics-gynaecologists often assume there’s no medical reason when patients who have previously demonstrated their fertility take an unusually long time to conceive. Unfortunately, such a wait-and-see approach can allow an untreated problem to become an untreatable one.

When to see your doctor: So, your diet and exercise, sex life, and stress levels are all in check, and you’re still not seeing that little plus sign? If it’s been more than six months, especially if you’re over 35, don’t be afraid to ask for help, says Dweck. “You won’t be the first person to go see their gynaecologist to get some assistance in getting pregnant a second time.”

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