When your first child has grown out of babyhood, getting pregnant a second time might seem like a natural next step. For some, the decision to have a second baby and the process of getting pregnant again is easy, while other parents struggle with the psychological and physical ramifications. Whether you're sure you are ready to go for baby No. 2 or simply contemplating the possibility, keep in mind that everything about your second pregnancy isn't necessarily going to happen in the same way as during your first pregnancy.
There's no right or wrong time to go for a second pregnancy, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women's Health recommends waiting until at least 12 months after the birth of your first child. In 2010, the U.K. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published guidelines recommending that women lose the weight they gained in an earlier pregnancy before trying to get pregnant again.
Factors to Consider
Your age is a major factor that can affect both the timing between a first and second pregnancy and the ease with which you get pregnant again. According to the American Pregnancy Association, women 35 and older occasionally have cycles during which no egg is released, making it more difficult to get pregnant. The average length of time it takes to get pregnant if you are both over 35 is between one and two years. If you had specific health problems that made it difficult to get pregnant the first time, those problems could affect your second attempt as well.
Secondary infertility occurs when a couple has trouble getting pregnant a second time after conceiving naturally the first time without any problems. In some cases, the increased age of one or both parents is the underlying cause. For others, secondary infertility occurs because an underlying health problem developed between the first pregnancy and the subsequent attempt. Both endometriosis and uterine infections -- including infections that occur after a complicated first delivery -- can affect the fallopian tubes and make it more difficult to get pregnant later. Depending on the underlying cause, your doctor might prescribe medication or recommend in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination if secondary infertility is hampering your ability to have a second child.
Many of the pregnancy symptoms and bodily changes you experienced the first time around will repeat themselves during your second pregnancy, although you might notice pregnancy signs earlier in the pregnancy because you are familiar with them already. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about two-thirds of women who had severe morning sickness during a first pregnancy experience the same thing during later pregnancies.