Why Am I Struggling to Have a Second Baby?

Why Am I Struggling to Have a Second Baby?

When you think about family planning, you probably assume that if you’ve had one healthy pregnancy and birth, you can do it again as many times as you’d like. That’s true sometimes, but for others, it is not the case. If you’re struggling to get and stay pregnant after having one or more babies, you may be dealing with something called secondary infertility. 

Dr. Parisa Pourzand and her staff help couples experiencing infertility, whether for their first pregnancy or any other. We also provide a helpful pregnancy guide and prenatal care, but the first order of business may be bringing a healthy pregnancy to term. 

As surprising as it may be, some women don’t face any fertility issues until they’ve had multiple previous pregnancies. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant for the second, third, or fourth time, if it’s been six months to a year and you’ve been unsuccessful, you may need to consider treatment options for secondary infertility. 

What researchers know

Information about secondary infertility is somewhat scant because it’s not usually the subject of research. Instead, all instances of infertility are lumped together in most studies.

However, there are some common issues that can lead to secondary infertility, which we describe below. It’s important to note that both men and women can have problems that lead to secondary infertility. In fact, in about 30% of cases, the problem is with the woman, 30% with the man, and in about 30% it’s either both or no explanation can be identified. 

Age matters

Women often wait longer today to have children than they did in the past. For couples in their early 30s and younger, each cycle brings about a 25% chance of conception. When a woman is 40, that chance drops to around 5-10%.  Semen quality in men tends to decline after the age of 40, as well. 

Weight gain

Being overweight or obese can affect fertility in both men and women. If you’ve already had one child or more, chances are a bit higher that you may have gained some weight.

Although weight isn’t always connected to fertility, it can be. Aim to reach and maintain a healthy weight with a varied and nutritious diet and plenty of exercise. 

Medical conditions

A long list of medical conditions can impact your ability to get and stay pregnant. For example, if you have thyroid problems, you may have more difficulty getting pregnant. A history of infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, can make getting pregnant more difficult. Other common health problems that may potentially affect fertility include: 

Options for treatment

Psychologically, secondary infertility can be difficult. You may feel like there’s something wrong with you or your partner. Some women report feeling lonely, as well. But you should know there are usually options for treatment.

In some cases, taking a medication called clomid to stimulate ovulation is a good solution. In others a surgical procedure to clear the fallopian tubes is effective. Some couples choose in vitro fertilization (IVF) and have successful pregnancies.

Take the important first step of scheduling an appointment to discuss your situation with Dr. Pourzand so that you can understand what’s happening and find out about options that may work for you. 

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