85% of couples get pregnant within the first year of trying to conceive. Those are great odds! However, what about the second time around? Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant a second time. While primary infertility gets most of the attention, more than 3 million women in the United States alone suffer from secondary infertility.
What Causes Secondary Infertility?
Life changes can result in infertility, even though you’ve been successful in conceiving in the past. Weight changes, increased age, and frequent use of certain medications can cause a decrease in your odds of conceiving. Once a woman hits age 35, fertility begins a steep decline.
Many of the causes of primary infertility are also the causes of secondary infertility. Blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, and pelvic or uterine scarring are potential causes of infertility. Complications during the birth of your first child such as a Caesarean that resulted in scarring or a womb infection could be preventing you from conceiving a second time.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common cause of both primary and secondary infertility. PCOS occurs when there is a hormonal imbalance that disrupts ovulation. If you find you’re having irregular or absent periods, consult your doctor.
It is important to take stock of everything that has changed healthwise in your life since having your first child. This may help you figure out why you’re having difficulty conceiving again.
The treatments for secondary infertility are the same as the treatments for primary infertility. See your doctor after 1 year of unsuccessfully trying to conceive if under the age of 35 and after 6 months if over the age of 35.
Coping with this problem is easier with a support group. Reach out to those around you - there may be someone else experiencing the same troubles. Don’t pull away from your partner. Chances are they’re having the same guilty and helpless feelings you are. Be each other’s support system as you navigate these tough times together.
Whether first pregnancy or second, infertility is a difficult barrier to overcome both physically and emotionally. Don’t let it derail you. When you’re looking for more information on pregnancy and conception, be sure to subscribe for our newsletter down below.