Each woman’s breastfeeding experience is different (even from her first baby to her second), but the one constant is that there are a variety of supports in place to provide answers and encouragement. At no point should you feel like you have to do this alone, because there is a team of people and resources to support you.
If you are planning a pregnancy, please remember the importance of prenatal vitamins, eating well, and regular activity.
It is difficult to predict from a prior experience how long it might take you to get pregnant. Your increased age and changing medical history can be factors. Changes in a woman’s ovaries, uterus, and tubes can make it easier or harder to get pregnant for the second time.
Here are some factors that can impact your ability to conceive:
When menstrual periods do not come as expected by age 15 or 16, some teens are diagnosed with MRKH (Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome), which is an uncommon disorder in which the uterus and the vagina fail to develop properly.
The diagnosis of MRKH, also known as vaginal agenesis, is often an unknown entity to the teenager and family and can cause them all to experience feelings of disbelief, grief and loss.
Exercise is vital to the health of a pregnant woman, not only for her physical health, but also for her mental well-being. The numerous benefits of exercise include helping to maintain your body weight during pregnancy and helping to prevent and control gestational diabetes. Exercise is also powerful in preventing depression.
Many patients are curious about whether fertility issues their parents might have struggled with may have a role in their own ability to get pregnant. My answer is always the same: your parents’ issues will not necessarily become yours.
In general, the more you know about your family’s health history, the more your medical team can start using those facts in evaluating your overall health and fertility picture.
There are many possible causes for decreased fertility, including endometriosis, fibroids, premature menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, low sperm count, underlying conditions, and physical issues. Some of these – hypothyroidism or polycystic ovary syndrome in particular – do tend to run in families.
Still, patterns of fertility in your family may not predict how easily you will conceive.
We know, for example, that fertility decreases with age. In general, older women have a lower chance of getting pregnant. By the time women are 30 years old, a quarter of them will have issues with fertility. If your mom or sister was trying to conceive around age 40 or later, that could have been the source of her difficulties.
A “birth plan” is like a game plan for your baby’s arrival. You have little control over when your labor starts, but a birth plan ensures that you, your partner, and your care team are all aware of your wishes on some key things like pain meds, the people involved, episiotomies and cord cutting.
When to start your plan:
Usually I discuss the birth plan with my patients at the beginning of the third trimester. Often it is the childbirth classes she takes that help a woman make decisions about the type of birth she wants. If a woman has not taken classes, I suggest other resources available online or at the library that will help her make choices regarding her baby’s birth.