If conceiving your first child was problem free, it can come as a big shock when things do not happen so easily the second time around. Being unable to conceive when you’ve already given birth is called secondary infertility and it’s more common than you might think.
The main cause of secondary infertility is age. By the time some women get round to having their second, third or fourth baby, they are a few years older than when they started their family. And for women in their mid to late 30s and beyond, that age difference could mean their chance of conceiving is decreased.
Another factor contributing to secondary infertility is the everyday stress of parenthood. Factors such as altered self-image, time pressures and sleep deprivation may interfere with a couples’ sexual relationship. Regular, timely sex is crucial to falling pregnant, but can be difficult for couples coping with the pressures of bringing up young children.
Poor diet and lack of exercise can also be contributing factors. Being overweight affects a woman’s ovulation as well as the quality of the man’s sperm. Overweight men can experience sperm counts up to 50% lower than those in a healthier weight range. But the good news is that tackling weight problems can have a big impact on fertility and the chance of natural conception.
Many couples suffering from secondary infertility experience the same emotional symptoms as those suffering from primary infertility, and can become stressed and frustrated by the situation they find themselves in. Some also feel guilty they can’t provide a sibling for their child; an emotion that makes them feel isolated and out of control.
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