6 Steps To Managing Through Secondary Infertility
By: Melissa Wallace
So you’ve already had a baby and you’re ready for another but things aren’t coming as easily the second time around. You might be experiencing what is called “secondary infertility”. According to the Mayo Clinic, secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates that there are more than 3 million women in the US with one child that has had a difficult time getting pregnant again, or carrying another baby full-term.
But we need to talk beyond the stats, because secondary infertility is emotionally difficult on both us and our partners. Because we already have a child, it’s difficult to not be immersed in a world where you’re constantly reminded of your inability to conceive.
“When my wife and I had our first child we got pregnant pretty easily. Honestly, as I look back on it, it had to have been the very first or second cycle we were trying.
Unfortunately, today, we are here 2 years into working on our second and no luck. We constantly talk about whether or not it's too late now. It's the single biggest strain on our relationship." - Jerome, CTO & Co-Founder at OOVA
There is hope, however. When we begin to recognize it, understand it and deal with it directly, we really can get through this.
Step 1: Make time for yourself.
Yes, it seems absolutely impossible this concept of finding time for ourselves. And let’s not forget the guilt that comes with not dedicating every moment to our current child. But here’s what we need to remember - when we take care of ourselves, we are able to better take care of others.
Start with just 15 minutes a day. Each week, add a little more time to that. If your child is under three years old, it’s possible you are not getting a good night's sleep. It’s okay to accept that it’s going to be tough to get an hour at the gym if you are tired. So start with just enough time for some stretching, a brisk walk, meditation - time dedicated to you.
As we dedicate more time to ourselves, we can be more in tune with our bodies. Now we know what our stressors are and are able to manage unexpected changes that come from them.
Step 2: Identify what has changed.
Life moves so fast and those stressors we had the first time we got pregnant are not the same as they were in the past. Factors ranging from age to diet can have an impact on fertility. We go back to work and things are never the same, especially now we’ve got a little one at home to get back to. The best thing we can do is pinpoint the areas in our lives that are causing that stress. Here are a few things to consider.
- Recent life changes
- Surgery or new medications
- Diet, exercise and routine
- And don't forget lack of sleep!
Step 3: Have a plan.
Especially if getting pregnant the first time was easy, we may not know what is ahead for us as we manage through secondary infertility. So planning can help addressing things in advance rather than making decisions in the moment that can be quite stressful.
- Create a fertility roadmap
- What treatments are available to you
- Which treatments are you willing to consider and when should you undergo them
- What is your budget and how much are you willing to spend
Step 4: Ask for support.
We should never feel like we have to fight infertility alone. There's so many emotions we go through like the feeling of inadequacy that constantly seeps in and takes over. How about the guilt you feel because you already have a beautiful child, while others struggle to have their first? It can be so hard to discuss with your partner, family and friends about any and all of this. But it’s really important to talk about how we’re feeling and lean on the support of others to help us cope.
In addition to those close to you, seek a community to connect with on Facebook or through sites like RESOLVE. When we say “we are not alone” just remember that statistic of 3 million women and the general notion that we can help each other.
Step 5: Reach out to you doctor or a fertility specialist.
It’s never too soon to get support from a medical professional. There are a few guidelines to follow to determine when it’s time to call the doctor.
- If you are under the age of 35, and have been trying to conceive for at least one year
- If you are over 35 and you have been trying to conceive for at least six months without success
- If you have ovulation concerns, have missed or irregular periods, have a history of pelvic infection or have tubal damage or endometriosis
- If you have had two or more miscarriages
Step 6: Use products like OOVA.
Tracking your ovulation cycle is a great place to start and OOVA can help. Fusing modern analytics with advanced nano measurements, OOVA can measure and track your hormone levels with groundbreaking precision. OOVA will be available this fall.