What Is the Best Time to Have a Second Baby?
The question of when to have a second baby can cause a dilemma among many couples. There is no right answer to this, as many factors such as health, finances, and personal preferences come into play.
1. Your Physical Health
Getting pregnant means big changes taking place in your body, and those can only happen if your health is at an optimal level. Even if your first pregnancy was not too long ago, if you’ve recovered and are in good health, you can have a second baby. Wait for at least 24 months after 1st child.
2. Your Age
As women grow older, their menstrual cycle begins to change in terms of egg production. This is because women are born with a limited supply of eggs, and will eventually run out. With increasing age, the quality of the eggs also reduces, thus increasing the chances of miscarriage or genetic defects.
3. Father’s Age
While planning a second child, the age of your partner is also under the scanner. Studies have shown that men show a marked decrease in their sperm quality once they turn 35.
What about birth control?
Some use breastfeeding as a natural birth control method. According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, fewer than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant annually if they’re engaging in exclusive breastfeeding. Even though breastfeeding reduces your fertility, it’s not an absolute guarantee you won’t get pregnant again.
The key here is exclusive breastfeeding. Other than breast milk, no fluids or solids are given to the baby with exclusive breastfeeding. Even water. Supplements or vitamins don’t interfere and can be given to the baby. Breastfeeding that doesn’t fit this description might not protect against another pregnancy.
If you’re breastfeeding and your period does return, you’re no longer protected against getting pregnant. It’s also important to note that it can be difficult to predict the return of fertility. You will ovulate before your period starts, so it’s entirely possible to get pregnant again before your period returns.
Finances play a crucial role in second child planning, as the costs immediately double. Are you and your partner both working? Do you plan on sending both your children abroad for higher education? Such questions need to be thought about well in advance when planning your finances.
5. Goals As a Family
Raising a second child means that you and your partner must be on the same page. There may be instances where you both may differ in opinion. One may want to wait for a while or not have kids at all. It is important that you both communicate with each other about what your goals are and how you can both reach a middle ground.
Your career will take a backseat for a while as you devote time to your newborn.
7. Age Gap
While planning for a second child, your first child also comes into the equation. Would you like your children to be playmates? In that case, it’s better to have a smaller gap as they would be of the same age group and get along well.
8. Helping Hands
When you get pregnant for the second time, extra help becomes important because your first child needs to be looked after. Do you have a person that you trust to babysit your child? Do your parents live close by so that they can lend a hand with your baby?
If you’ve had a cesarean for your firstborn, you would have to repeat the process if the gap is of less than two years. This is because in the next pregnancy you will need to wait for labor pains, which cannot be induced. It is not recommended to deliver vaginally in case you have had a c-section before. You must, therefore, go for a multi-specialty hospital as a big setup becomes necessary to take care of any emergency that can arise.
How to Prepare Yourself for the Second Child
Below are some tips for second pregnancy planning:
1. Go for a Check-Up
When you and your partner decide that it’s time for a second baby, make sure you get a blood test done. For starters, a blood test can help confirm pregnancy if you’ve already started trying. Apart from that, it also can also help check the iron content in your body. Most women become anemic during pregnancy due to the amount of blood that is needed to sustain you and the baby. With a blood test, you can figure out a good plan to improve your iron content and avoid complications like maternal anemia.
2. Keep a Close Eye on Your Menstrual Cycle
Even if you don’t use birth control, a missed period doesn’t always mean that pregnancy is around the corner. After the first baby, your menstrual cycle could be out of sync. You’ll need to chart out your ovulation days to figure out the optimal time for conception. It may take a couple of weeks to get it right, so be patient and keep trying!
3. Hit the Gym
Getting back into shape after your first pregnancy is challenging but achievable. Most moms get back on their feet after a strict exercise regime but if you’re not one of them, you need to start now. Weight gain can inhibit fertility and can sometimes cause hormonal imbalances, making it difficult to track your ovulation.
5. Figure out the Best Time to Get Pregnant
If you’re in your early 30s and are worried that your fertility may be affected, it would make sense to have your second baby as soon as possible. However, it’s also important that you think about your firstborn. Many couples wait for about three years before conceiving their second child as the first child is independent enough by then, and the pregnancy can be given first priority.