One major myth that many never understand is the one stating that every bride gets pregnant within a few months of her wedding date. Another highly inaccurate myth is that every woman who has had one baby can pregnant again with ease.
The reality is that most couples take at least a year to get pregnant and there’s no guarantee that having a second baby will be any easier than having the first one. There are so many factors that impact fertility and the solutions range from easy fixes to serious problems that require medical intervention. The easy fixes are, thankfully, more common than the tougher ones and most things that might be stopping a mom from having her next child are things that she has control over. The few factors that are outside of mom’s control are almost always easy to address if mom can get in to see a doctor.
So take a look at our list and see if any of these speed bumps might be slowing you or a loved one down on your quest to grow your family. From stress to bad habits, we are going to count off the top fifteen factors that might be stopping a mom from getting pregnant again. We get a little technical, but hey, it’s all terms ladies should be comfortable with if they plan on having a baby!
15 Your Morning Routine
Caffeine is, far and away, the most popular drug in America. There is hardly a working person today that doesn’t reach for a coffee or an energy drink as soon as they wake up. Moms seem to be especially fond of their coffee. There’s just something about the perfect cup of java to get you through a day of cooking, cleaning, kids, and whatever other hustle a mom has to keep running. Caffeine is, unfortunately, the opposite of helpful if a woman is trying to get pregnant again.
Scientists are still trying to nail down exactly why caffeine does what it does, but multiple studies across several countries have proven that caffeine can prolong the amount of time it takes to get pregnant, lead to miscarriages and can have negative impacts on the baby as it develops. Women hoping to become pregnant need to limit their total caffeine intake to the equivalent of 16 ounces of coffee a day.
With that being said, we are not telling anyone to give up that beloved morning cup of joe, but drinking it in excess is totally unnecessary. Besides drinking a lot of caffeine can lead to day time jitters and mid morning crashes, making you reach for even more to wake up again. It’s a nasty cycle to get stuck in.
14 Certain Extras
There are all sorts of medications that may have a negative impact on a woman’s ability to get pregnant so it’s important to ask a doctor if anything you’re taking might be damaging your fertility. This is especially true for women who were taking birth control. The side effects of birth control are pretty well known, but even today few women are aware that birth control can build up in their system and take months - or even longer - to clear out and stop restricting their ability to get pregnant.
If you think this might be the problem you’re running into, a doctor can run some tests and potentially find a way to counteract the problem or at least let you know if there’s something you can do speed up the process.
It should also be noted that if you have the intentions of trying to become pregnant, then you should always meet with your doctor first to make sure that you are in the best health possible, this is when they will go over your medications with you.
This is especially true for medications that are used for psychiatric conditions, as many of those can affect pregnancy and a woman’s fertility.
13 Previous Failed Pregnancies
Of all the entries on this list, miscarriages are the hardest to talk about. Most women who try to conceive have had at least one miscarriage. A lot of these happen early in the first trimester and, generally, will not have an impact on future attempts to have a child. But when a woman suffers the pain of losing a pregnancy that made it into the second or even third trimester, it can affect her chances of getting pregnant later on.
Whether the reason is physical, such as injury to the reproductive system, or mental, such as depression and anxiety over the possibility of miscarrying again, it’s a mean trick of biology that countless women struggle with every day. If this is something affecting you, make sure that you can have an open conversation with your partner, family, or friends.
This can help ease some of the pain which may, in turn, remove some of the obstacles to future pregnancies. It should also be known that women who have had multiple miscarriages in the early weeks of pregnancy might also have a hard time conceiving after so many losses. Of course, losing a baby is never easy, and trying to conceive again after that can be emotionally draining, so it might be a good idea to have a counselor on hand as well.
12 The Dreaded 'C'
Cancer has to be one of the scariest words known to humanity. Nobody wants to think about their chances of developing cancer or the effect it will have on their life. One of those effects is the way cancer can disrupt a woman’s ability to conceive. Most people would not think that the two problems coincide much, but there are reports of women who go to talk to their doctor about infertility only to find out that their problems are rooted in cancer.
Other women still want to conceive after receiving their cancer diagnosis but may find it difficult due to both the disease and the treatments. If you are diagnosed with cancer then having a baby should probably be put on the back burner, just so that you can take the time to focus on your own health and getting better.
This way, when you do decide to have a baby, you can be healthy enough to make it to term, survive childbirth, and be there to witness your child growing up. Cancer certainly is no joke, and it has claimed the lives of so many people, so if this is something that you are struggling with then we hope that you can get better and have a family of your own.
PCOS, short for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is one of the factors we mentioned that can only be reliably diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
It’s a condition that affects anywhere from 5-13% of women in America each year and is classified as an endocrine disorder.
This means that it can wreak havoc with your hormones and put a serious roadblock between a woman and her desire to have kids. PCOS can cause infertility and miscarriages, so it is important to check with a doctor if you think you might be suffering from the condition. There are already several methods in use to help women with PCOS conceive and carry the baby to term, so PCOS is definitely not the end of the road for women who want more kids.
However this does not make the condition any less horrible to deal with, many women who end up with this find themselves trying for years to conceive before finally giving up. This sometimes leads to depression in some women, and since this condition can also be painful at times, it can really take a toll on them both physically and mentally. PCOS is no laughing matter, and we truly do feel for the many women affected by it.
10 Extreme Exercise
This entry kind of relates back to the entry on weight, but it’s so important that it needs to be talked about all on its own. No matter how much you weigh, extreme exercise can shut down your body’s reproductive processes and make it much, much harder to conceive. The leading theory on this is that your body thinks you’re under too much pressure to safely carry a child to term and so your body will then redirect energy and such to other bodily systems.
One or two days of intense exercise aren’t enough to cause this to happen, so rest assured that if you’re hitting the gym as hard as you can one week, you should be fine. Extreme exercise is what super gym-goers put themselves through. Professional athletes are also at risk of hitting the “extreme exercise” zone and must be particularly careful. Of course, we are not telling anyone that they should not exercise when trying to have a baby, because exercising is very important. We are however saying that they should not put their bodies under too much stress because this can also lead to a miscarriage if they do conceive. This is also something that your doctor should discuss with you at your first appointment.
9 Problems With Your Fallopian Tubes
Anybody who has had a baby should have some general knowledge of what fallopian tubes are. They’re essentially your body’s transport system for eggs, both fertilized and unfertilized. What most women don’t realize, unfortunately, is that damage to the tubes can cause problems when a mom tries to get pregnant again. The good news is that fallopian tubes are not easy to damage.
The bad news is that ectopic pregnancies - where the egg implants in the tube instead of going all the way to the uterus - can cause serious damage. When a woman experiences an ectopic pregnancy, surgery is required, otherwise things can become fatal for both mom and baby. Although, babies never survive an ectopic pregnancy. Medical interventions for other conditions may also damage the tubes, which means that no matter how many times you get down to business, there’s no way for your eggs to go anywhere.
If you think you’ve suffered fallopian tube damage, you’ll need to have a doctor perform a scan to confirm before finding the best way to resolve the issue.
Although the conditions that usually lead to this are typically very serious, and the odds are that you would know and be seeking emergency attention before finding out for sure that your tubes have suffered some damage.
8 The Dreaded Number
There’s a myth in our culture that pregnancy and early motherhood are the two times in her life that a woman doesn’t have to keep a close eye on her weight. This is, unfortunately, not true. Weighing too much - or too little - can cause serious problems with a woman’s ability to conceive. Women who weigh too little or too much are both groups who are regularly noted to miss periods, struggle to conceive, and to suffer from weight related problems during pregnancy that can also affect their babies.
We find that it is important for women to make sure that they are at a healthy weight and in the best possible health that they can be before trying to bring a baby into the world. If mom is healthy, then they can focus on keeping their baby healthy. It’s important to stay in a healthy weight range for your height and body type, especially when you’re trying to conceive and throughout your pregnancy. As an added bonus, those healthy choices will be habit by the time the baby is born and should be easier to keep up! This also makes it easier for mom to bounce back to her pre-baby body.
7 That Night Out
I can already hear the choruses of “but in Europe...” from here so I’m going to be very blunt about this. Binge drinking is not healthy for anyone, ever. It is especially damaging for women who are trying to conceive because it can throw off the body systems that help lead to a healthy pregnancy.
Those who point to Europe as a “but it works for them!” example needs to understand that the drinkers who don’t have problems conceiving, whether American or European - have one or two glasses a day at absolute most. If a woman is really serious about having another baby she needs to moderate her alcohol intake. And, let’s be really honest here, that’s a small price to pay in the long run. If it’s not one that a woman is willing to pay, another baby might need to wait.
Women should also know that if they are consuming alcohol when they become pregnant, even in the earliest weeks before they get that positive pregnancy test, it can lead to long-term effects for the baby.
It could possibly even lead to a miscarriage, something that no woman wants to go through. So, we are not saying that one glass of wine a day is bad, but we are saying that one glass is probably as much as a mom TTC should consume.
6 Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
This issue is, thankfully, much less common than it used to be. PID, also known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, used to be the name for the discomfort that comes from chlamydia and gonorrhea. Both STIs have become uncommon in the past decade or so and most modern cases of PID are caused by reasons other than STIs. Whatever the cause, PID can get in the way when a woman is trying to conceive.
The disease causes most of the reproductive system to be painful and inflamed which means that doing the deed won’t exactly be enjoyable and there’s a good chance that her body won’t react well to any attempts at pregnancy. Of course this is another one of those things that would need to be diagnosed by your doctor, and should be treated appropriately. Although, the odds are that if you have this disease you will not be trying to conceive anyways because of just how painful it can be when doing the deed. If you are experiencing pain while doing the deed, but have not yet been diagnosed by a doctor, then you should make an appointment to be seen soon, just to be on the s
5 The Other Important Number
This is one factor that just about everyone knows and it is, unfortunately, the one that is largely outside of anyone’s control. There have been a lot of breakthroughs in the last fifteen or twenty years that make it easier for women to conceive later and later in life, but without medical intervention it will always be easier to conceive earlier in adult life.
As the pace of life gets faster, more people have to wait longer before they are financially stable enough to start a family.
Motherhood is getting pushed further back which means that the added difficulties of conceiving later in life have to be factored in when trying to conceive.
It definitely is not as easy as celebrity moms make it look but that’s true of just about everything. Beyond the age of 40, you might wonder who on earth is just now deciding to have kids? But these days it is actually pretty common, and sadly so, because typically these women up needing things like IVF in order to start to their family. If you are not well off financially, then IVF would be outside of your price range, making it seem like you wasted your chance to start a family. This is a sad thing for any woman to have to go through.
4 Thyroid Disease
Thyroids are tricky little things. A lot of people don’t even realize that we have them but when thyroids decide to act up, they can ruin just about anything. Thyroid problems can account for weight gain, fatigue, loss of libido, hormone imbalances, and so much more. Anyone of these things can cause problems when a woman is trying to conceive, but even if none of these other symptoms appear, thyroid issues can cause problems all on their own. The thyroid plays a huge part in our bodies, and it is something not a lot of people give thought to.
There are rumors that some home remedies can help control thyroid issues, but it really is best to consult a doctor about what exactly is going on, at least to start with. Once a woman has a handle on what exactly is wrong with her thyroid, she might be able to control it well enough that it will stop affecting her ability to have children. In order to know whether or not you are actually experiencing thyroid problems, your doctor will run a simple blood test and the results of that will be able to tell them whether or not the issues you are having can be traced back to an over or underactive thyroid.
3 Overwhelming Stress
Ask a mom how she is feeling and her answer is probably going to be something along the lines of “tired and stressed, why do you ask?”. That might sound like a stereotype but it seems truer these days than ever before and motherhood has never been a walk in the park. Between mom shaming, changes in parenting trends, the pressure to get their kids into good schools, and the additional stresses of work, housekeeping, and maintaining something resembling romance with their partner, moms have more stress on their plate than most people could handle. So it kind of feels like a bad joke that stress can make it harder for a woman to conceive.
There are a million ways to combat stress and it’s recommended that any woman who wants to get pregnant should give a few different methods a try.
Of course, this is always much easier said than done, but if a woman who is trying to conceive is under a lot of stress then it is important for her to take at least a little time to herself each day to take a deep breath and unwind. Even if that just means taking a shower in peace, it may be just enough to work.
2 Unspeakable Transmissions
Of all the entries on this list, STDs has to be the one that people overlook the most often. Nobody wants to admit it when they have an STD despite the fact that half of all sexually active adults will contract some form of sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25. So, chances are, half of everyone in a room with you at any given time has had an STD or STI. It might be a hard topic to talk about, but it’s important to be upfront with partners about these conditions, especially when trying to conceive.
STDs and STIs can seriously reduce a woman’s ability to conceive and some may even put her partner and baby in danger. Doctors are the best resource for people who think they may have an STD or STI and want to conceive a child, both for help in conceiving and in making sure everyone stays safe during the process. Of course this is a very serious subject to talk about, and with all of the shaming that seems to be circled around it, everyone seems to feel embarrassed when they do end up with one. Doctors however see this sort of thing every single day, so it is important to be upfront with your doctor at all times.
1 The Work Break Habit
Smoking is one of the most obvious factors on this list. It is one of those habits that is bad for just about every part of the human body for both the smoker and everyone around them. It is also one of the hardest legal habits to kick because nicotine is so wildly addictive and nicotine withdrawals are no walk in the park even without the added stress of motherhood or failed conception attempts.
If a woman is trying to get pregnant, however, trying to kick the pack habit will increase her odds of getting pregnant and result in a healthier pregnancy in the long run.
Babies who are born to nicotine addicted mothers tend to have a lower birth weight, failure to thrive, and can even be born prematurely. Of course this is not true for everyone who smokes while pregnant, but why even bother risking it when it comes to the health of your baby. The extra time spent away from the cigarette is an added bonus, giving her more time to spend quality time with her partner which can only be a good thing when they’re trying to have a baby! So it is safe to say, with the research to back it up, that if you are a smoker who is having trouble conceiving then it might be a good idea to try to kick the bad habit to the curb before trying for a baby.