Secondary infertility: when you already have a child but the new pregnancy does not arrive
For couples who had no problems conceiving their first child, the hope is that just as the first pregnancy happened easily and naturally, a second pregnancy will occur. However, having a child is not always a guarantee that it will be easy to have another .
When you already have a child but the new pregnancy does not come, we would be talking about secondary infertility . We tell you what it is and the possible reasons why it happens.
What is secondary infertility
Secondary infertility is when the couple has had one child without problems but has difficulty having another . This type of infertility is rare, but when it occurs it is very stressful and overwhelming for the couple, as it is very confusing for them not to be able to achieve another pregnancy, when it is more than proven that they can conceive a baby.
However, and as I mentioned at the beginning, it is false to believe that if you have been fertile once, it will always be so . Changes in lifestyle may have occurred since the last pregnancy that have produced alterations in the reproductive health of the couple, which we will analyze later.
In these cases, the same general rule applies when conceiving a baby for the first time is not possible: if after a year of trying you have not been able to conceive , it is time to go to the doctor to rule out any problem.
As in any pregnancy, there are factors that can make it difficult to conceive, which may not have been in the first pregnancy but now that we are trying to have another baby. These are some of the possible causes of secondary infertility:
lead a more stressful life
It is not the same to look for a pregnancy when it was just the two of you, to look for it now that you have a child to take care of . The conditions and lifestyle are not the same , as they have greater responsibilities and obligations that undoubtedly influence the level of stress of both.
In the case of the mother, who is where most of the parenting usually falls (although in many homes this is no longer the case), the woman may feel more tired and stressed, which alters her period and can make it difficult to get pregnant.
In addition, to all this we can add the social pressure that couples who have only one child experience, where they are inundated with questions such as ” and when is the other one? ” or comments such as “he needs a little brother” , which also greatly affect emotionally.
It is obvious that in the first pregnancy the woman was younger, so age can also be a possible factor that causes secondary infertility, because with each passing year, the chances of getting pregnant are reduced .
For example, a woman in her 20s who is trying to get pregnant on her fertile days has a 25% chance of achieving it, around 30 years old she has a 15% chance, from 35 onwards the chances drop to 8% and 3% from 38 years.
Medical problems of the mother
Another possible secondary infertility factor is that the mother presents a medical problem that did not exist in the first pregnancy or that did not affect her fertility on that occasion , such as ovulatory problems, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions or the presence of fibroids or polyps in the uterus.
It must also be taken into account that the first pregnancy and childbirth could have affected it in some way, because in the case of cesarean section, for example, studies have found that having had one could increase the risk of secondary infertility.
Before looking for a second pregnancy, it is advisable to go to a gynecological check-up to make sure that everything is in order to conceive, and to tell the doctor about anything that may seem irregular.
Father’s medical problems
Secondary infertility can sometimes be caused by medical problems in the man because just like in women, there are factors that can alter their ability to conceive, even though they have already had a child.
A reduced number of sperm or poor quality of sperm ( which can be caused by age ), as well as certain pathologies or diseases , can affect you and reduce your chances of conceiving a second time.
Variations in weight
Another possible cause of secondary infertility is the weight of both, which may have increased since the first pregnancy , making it difficult to conceive.
In the case of men, studies have found that gaining weight and being obese can affect the quality of sperm. In the case of women it is similar, since excess weight produces alterations in the ovaries that could contribute to the inability of the ovules to produce an embryo.
changes in diet
In Babies and more we have talked a lot about the influence of diet on fertility , so another possible cause of secondary infertility may be the changes we have made in this regard.
High consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as well as trans fats, sugars, and red and processed meats, can contribute to lower chances of pregnancy and lower fertilization rates for couples.
What to do if a second pregnancy does not arrive
One of the first things we should do (if we didn’t already do it with the first pregnancy) is to learn to know and identify the fertile days. This will help us increase the chances of pregnancy , because if sexual intercourse does not occur in the fertile period, it is impossible for conception to occur.
It is also important to take age into account. For example, if you are over 35 years old and your lifestyle has not changed, it is advisable to visit the gynecologist when you have not been able to conceive after six months .
When the second child is late in arriving , the couple can suffer emotional consequences . It can be as frustrating or more than if it were the first pregnancy because there is already the prior expectation that it will be more or less soon if it is the first one.
It is important first to try to recognize possible signs that something is wrong, to cope together with the anxiety of waiting and of course to go to the doctor if too much time has passed and the pregnancy does not occur.