As well as seeing patients that are trying for their first baby (whether by helping their natural cycle or supporting them through IVF,) I also see quite a few that had no problems conceiving the first but are struggling to conceive the second baby. This is called secondary infertility and is often not expected.
What is secondary infertility?
Poppet Number 1 is now a toddler or at school and the plan is to try for the next baby. Should just be just as straightforward as first time around, shouldn’t it?
One month passes… your period comes. Never mind, you think you were too tired to try at the right time this month.
Three months, six months… get the ovulation tests kit out….. a few more months go by.
Or maybe while trying for your second (or third, or fourth…), you became pregnant, only to suffer loss early on. You know your body is capable of this! You’ve done it once, so easily, and so perfectly before….
It is by no means uncommon when you’ve tried for a first baby and got pregnant really easily, to then struggle to a second or third time. This is known as secondary infertility and can catch many parents unawares.
I see many parents struggling with this issue and there are some factors that can be contributing to the problem that I will consider here.
Let go of “the plan”
Many parents have mapped out the ideal number of children, the ideal gap between each child, how this fits in with careers etc.
But we can’t always control these things so the only thing to do is to let it go.
If the school year isn’t what you planned, if the child is not born at the “right” time of year, if the gap between the other child is not what you wanted….. these are extra stresses added on to the journey of trying for the next child.
You need to try and lose these thoughts. There’s no point in adding extra stress so a shift in mindset can really help.
Life after Number 1 obviously isn’t the same.
You are obviously tired, you may have gone back to work, the little poppet decides your bed is best or that you really want to check on them several times a night, there is less sex than there used to be.
You are exhausted.
Obviously your body needs energy to get pregnant and stress hormones are not conducive to conception.
When you’ve had a baby you’re often way down the pecking order in terms of what’s happening, in terms of your diet, in terms of sleep, in terms of exercise, in terms of just having a bit of head space.
This is perfectly normal but no doubt explains why your body isn’t behaving in the same way as before.
Have some basic medical checks.
Sometimes when you’ve had your first baby, certain things can happen. There can be underlying medical factors that you haven’t taken into account.
Very often it can be a thyroid issue, it can be that you’re anemic.
You may have put on some extra weight so you need to lose a bit.
Your hormones might not be as balanced as they were the first time around. It’s good to seek help and get checked, especially if you’re older.
But what if everything comes back normal. Maybe your AMH is a little off, but not worrisome. Your FSH is a little high, but that’s normal for your age. Or maybe everything is “perfect!” but you’re still to conceiving?
What can you do to get pregnant?!?
Well, firstly, you’re reading this post so you have started to take ACTION. Great!
I can highly recommend trying acupuncture – it helps just as much with secondary infertility as it does for primary.
You can read here how acupuncture can help.
In addition to a therapy like acupuncture, there is always a great deal that can be helped by the right kind of nutrition. In fact, if you can’t manage acupuncture, you can at lest take some control of the nutritional side of things yourself. You might find this post a useful starting point.
It is generally acknowledged that it may take 3 months for your body to fully reap the benefits of acupuncture treatment.
An important note to consider is that it takes three months to build an egg or sperm cell. This means that patients should plan to schedule a minimum of three months of acupuncture treatments for optimum results.
Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment in combination with proper nutrition.
I would always take a good look at your diet and offer nutritional advice in conjunction with acupuncture treatment.
Are you thinking of trying acupuncture for fertility issues?
I recommend that you use an acupuncturist that is registered with The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) because members of the BAcC are guaranteed to have completed full training to degree level and will be covered by most private health insurers.