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Having children is one of the most joyous moments in a woman’s life. So when she tries to conceive again and is presented with a lot of obstacles, you can imagine how stressful it can get. While most assume that women who have had children in the past can essentially have them in the future, this is far from the truth. In fact, secondary infertility happens on many occasions, and getting to the bottom of the problem can be hard on a couple.

What Causes Secondary Infertility?

There are tons of reasons why a woman can have complications trying to conceive – even if they’ve already had children. This can include anything from preexisting conditions to hormonal changes and more. Though consulting with your gynecologist, doctor, or fertility specialist are best for pinpointing the underlying cause of your personalized circumstances, below are a few of the most common causes of secondary infertility and tips on how to overcome it.

1. Stress

Stress can really take a toll on a woman’s body, including her reproductive system. It goes without saying that when you’re trying to conceive with no such luck, stress is bound to pile up. Charting your period, timing sex, and getting negative readings from a pregnancy test are enough to send you into an emotional frenzy. Heightened levels of stress can lead to high blood pressure, depression, decreased sex drive, and infertility.

What to do: You must first find the source of your stress. Are you working too hard? Do you need help around the house? Do you need a break from trying to conceive? As you evaluate the stressors in your life, begin to look for ways to reduce or eliminate the factors. Talk with your employer about lightening your workload; ask your spouse to help you with the kids after school. As you minimize the stress in your life, you may find that getting pregnant is easier.

2. Strained Relationship

Trying to get pregnant, miscarriages, and other issues relating to fertility can be stressful on any couple. Your partner may have a difficult time understanding your emotions as you go through each cycle hoping to get a positive reading. They may also feel inadequate or “broken” because getting pregnant this time is not as simple as it was before. This can lead to distance, less intimacy, and strain on the relationship. Of course, trying to conceive is not the only reason a relationship could be strained, so if there are issues you’ve been arguing about lately, it could be contributing to your inability to get pregnant.

What to do: Relationships require a lot of hard work and preparation. Talk with your partner about whatever might be troubling you. Try to resolve any issues between the two of you. If you need a break, plan a vacation where it’s just the two of you focusing on each other (and not necessarily trying to conceive). If the issues are well beyond talking it through, maybe talking with a counselor is best to heal. Having a third-party opinion can make all the difference in the world.

3. Physical Changes

Your body changes a lot through the years and if it’s been several years since you had a child, physical changes could be the reason you’re having issues. This can include things like age, weight gain, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, iron levels, hormonal changes, and more. This is also true if you’ve started taking any prescription medications, recently gotten over an illness, or underwent surgery.

What to do: Address the physical changes that you can change on your own. If you’ve put on a few pounds, you may need to find an exercise routine to get back in shape. If the issue is your cholesterol, sugar, or iron levels, you can change your eating habits by reducing the amount of sugar and fatty foods you eat and increasing your intake of fruits and veggies. Your doctor might even recommend a fertility diet that will help prepare the body for a baby.

4. Bad Habits

Have you picked up a few bad habits since your last pregnancy? Things like smoking, drinking, or using illicit drugs can do numbers on your reproductive system. In fact, smoking tobacco can actually cause infertility.

What to do: This one is a no-brainer. You’re going to want to quit those bad habits immediately to try and get pregnant. If you’re dealing with a dependency or addiction, visiting a rehab facility is a must. The sooner you stop these habits, the faster the body can begin to repair itself.

These are just a few of the common causes of secondary infertility. If you have been trying to conceive for more than a year with no such luck, you may want to consult with your doctor. Not all infertility issues are irreversible, and in some instances they may be able to help you carry a pregnancy to term. Keep your options open and your head up as you travel along this journey to bring new life into the world.

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