Struggling to conceive after already having children can come as a shock. So, if you are experiencing issues expanding your family, here are seven ways to help you deal with secondary infertility.
What is secondary infertility?
A couple are considered to be experiencing secondary infertility if they already have a baby (or babies) together yet have been unsuccessfully trying for a year or more for another child. While any couple can be affected by secondary fertility, it’s more common in women in their 30s and 40s.
Seven ways to deal with secondary infertility
As well as medical interventions and treatments that can help you overcome secondary infertility, there are also steps you and your partner can take to cope.
- Work out if anything has changed since your last pregnancy
Understanding a little more about what may be preventing you getting pregnant can help to find a potential solution. Leaving a time gap between having children can inevitably impact on your ability to conceive, as can any new or undiagnosed health issues you or your partner may have developed since your last pregnancy. If you suspect something has changed, discuss it with your GP or fertility clinic.
- Be proactive
If age is the main difference between your last pregnancy and your latest efforts to conceive, don’t wait too long before you seek medical advice. If you are over 35, fertility experts recommend you seek advice after six months of trying to conceive, rather than the usual 12 months if you are trying for your first baby. And if you have real concerns, the earlier you and your partner get checked out, the sooner further tests, medication or IVF treatment can be taken to try and put things right.
- Spend time on your relationship
Infertility increases stress levels, and over time can also affect your relationship so it is important you both remain positive and connected. Talk about what is happening and how you are feeling and try to avoid blame. And don’t lose your intimacy, as having regular sex – two to three times a week – rather than just focusing on an ovulation ‘timetable’ can help reduce the pressure of trying to conceive.
- Look after your health
A healthy lifestyle can also help to improve the chances of a pregnancy, so if you need to make some changes, now’s the time to do it. Being overweight, poor diet, smoking, too much alcohol, insufficient regular exercise and poor sleep can all negatively impact on your fertility levels.
- Help yourself to feel good
Gaining some level of control – even if it’s how you feel in yourself – can help you deal with the impact of secondary infertility. Self-care is essential so choose ways to look after yourself, whether that’s meditation, spending time with friends or treating yourself to some alternative therapies, such as aromatherapy or reflexology.
- Acknowledge your emotions
It’s perfectly normal to feel a range of emotions when you are trying to conceive, even if you already have children. Common feelings include anger, sadness and hopelessness and it’s important not to bottle up these emotions but talk to your partner and seek professional help, from your GP or a local infertility support group, if needed.
- Set yourself a timescale
Our final tip is to agree a timeline with your partner when it comes to the positive actions you can take to tackle your secondary infertility. Whether it’s lifestyle changes, how long you plan to naturally try to conceive for, or complete treatment for any underlying health issues that may be impacting on your fertility, an agreed timescale can give you something more positive and productive to focus on.
And being in agreement as to when you then seek professional advice from a fertility clinic will also help to make you feel in control. And a positive mindset is key to overcoming the barriers to fertility and adding a much-wanted child to your family.