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Secondary infertility: are you struggling to get pregnant for the second time?

Secondary infertility: are you struggling to get pregnant for the second time?

As many as one in seven couples suffer from ‘secondary infertility’, says Dr Venkat, Director of Harley Street Fertility Clinic.

After your first baby, it’s common for couples to want to extend their family with a second baby. 

However, it’s not unusual to experience infertility when trying for a second or third child. The situation can be stressful and upsetting and also difficult to process, especially if the first pregnancy went without a hitch. Dr Geetha Venkat, Director of HSFC answers the many questions that couples facing this issue often ask.

How long does it normally take to conceive after the birth of a child?

It’s normal for a couple to try to conceive for up to a year. 

After a year, this could be classed as secondary infertility. If a couple has been trying unsuccessfully for this amount of time, I would recommend they visit a fertility expert who will be able to investigate their situation and help them get to the bottom of what might be wrong.

If you are in this situation, it is important to remember that you are not alone. As many as one in seven couples will struggle with secondary infertility and this can be especially difficult when friends become pregnant with their second child.


Are there complications from the first birth which could lead to difficulties getting pregnant again?

Certainly, there are many factors to take into account when trying to get pregnant again.

Countless women experience pain following a birth and may not feel comfortable with sex for some time. It’s much the same if you had a c-section, which will leave the you tender.

It’s important for both you and your partner to feel comfortable and ready to have another child, as stress and pressure will have a negative effect on your body and in turn, decrease your chances of becoming pregnant. 

There are more serious complications that can occur as a result of a previous pregnancy and birth. One of which is when a woman suffers from postpartum hemorrhage, an excessive amount of bleeding following vaginal or caesarean birth.

Another condition that can lead to future difficulties is a retained placenta. This is when some of the membrane or placenta remains inside the woman and can cause an infection within the uterus and womb. This in turn will block the fallopian tubes and therefore make it very difficult for the sperm to reach the egg.


What other factors impact on secondary infertility?

With your first born you were obviously younger, and as a result your fertility was naturally better. Women lose eggs every month, so if you leave a significant gap between the first and second child, your ovarian reserve may decrease.

Your partner’s lifestyle could also have an effect. Diet and exercise are very important when trying to conceive and sedentary jobs can lead to slower sperm motility. Adopting a healthy living regime as a couple will help you along the way to a successful conception. 


What’s your advice to couples experiencing secondary infertility?

If you are in any doubt or experiencing problems, speaking to someone about your condition will allow you to get treatment and rectify the situation.

It will also enable you to feel supported through this very difficult period.  By coming along for some fertility tests, you will be ensuring you are fully aware of any problems, and are prepared for the journey ahead.

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