Why a Second Child Can Be So Hard to Conceive

Why a Second Child Can Be So Hard to Conceive

Are you having trouble getting pregnant again? Learn all about secondary infertility here.

Many couples who found it rather easy to conceive their first baby, struggle when trying to conceive a second child.  In fact, many couples who seek treatment at fertility clinics are already parents.

This situation is more common than one may think and is termed “secondary infertility”.

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Many couples who try to get pregnant for the second time face issues.

Couples having difficulty getting pregnant the second time around have many questions such as how could this happen and what can be done to achieve a pregnancy.

To answer these and other questions on secondary infertility, fertility specialist Dr. Roland Chieng, the Medical Director for Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore, shares his expertise. He assists couples struggling to conceive; his special areas of interest being male infertility, reproductive microsurgery, fertility preservation, obstetrics and gynaecology.

How secondary infertility differs from trying to get pregnant the first time around

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Trying and not succeeding to have a baby can be stressful – even if it’s the second time around.

Though it seems unthinkable, some women develop infertility conditions after their last child is born.

It is possible, according to Dr. Chieng, that a woman’s underlying health condition which did not surface when she first conceived, can impact her ability to conceive again.

How secondary infertility happens

Some parents who try for baby number two could be trying to conceive for more than a year and still be unsuccessful. Multiple miscarriages and failure to become pregnant or to carry a pregnancy to term can be some of the problems that they face.

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It can be caused by the following:

  • Advanced age, as a woman’s fertility potential drops with advancing age and decreases her chances to become pregnant.
  • Increased body weight that affects ovulation and pregnancy
  • Lesser or infrequent sexual intercourse, when fertility is already low

When to seek medical help

Earlier assessment will be recommended if there are any obvious conditions such as infrequent menses, previous pelvic infection or pelvic operations, and in the case of men, a known history of a poor quality sperm or low level of male sex hormones.

It is best to seek advice from a doctor if you have been trying:

  • For one year and you are less than 35 years old
  • For six months and you are older than 35 years old

Lifestyle factors that contribute to secondary infertility

A couple’s lifestyle obviously changes after having a child. Sexual intercourse is likely to be less frequent than before. This is detrimental to an already low fertility that was possibly overcome previously by frequent sexual intercourse.

Some women also tend to have a higher body weight after having their first baby. If a woman’s weight is excessive, hormonal regulation and fertility are affected.

Increasing the odds of getting pregnant

Women should be conscious of the effect of age on fertility. Most doctors advise women to try for a second child as early as possible, especially if aged 35 or older.

Another important factor to consider is sexual frequency. By default, this lowers as a woman ages and especially if the couple has other children. Therefore, most doctors advise couples to have more frequent sexual intercourse when trying for a second child.

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Regular exercise can help a woman maintain healthy body weight, in turn helping increase fertility. | Image source: iStock

Maintaining a healthy body weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise is of utmost importance to optimize the chances of conception again.

Parents, have you experienced secondary infertility? What course of action did you take? Let us know by leaving a comment below. 

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Written by

Minoli Almeida

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