Pregnancy is one of the most rewarding as well as the most demanding journeys of life. But as you get older, your world shrinks and revolves around the little bundle of joy you have brought into this world. Parents begin to devote all their time, attention and care to their baby. And as they swap diapers, spend sleepless nights and take the first steps with their child, parents begin to daydream about a second baby.
With a second baby, parents go through the same process of parenting, but with dual responsibilities. Moms should not only be extra careful about their ticking biological clock, but also pay attention to their physical and mental health. Second pregnancy comes with a myriad of challenges, planning and keeping certain things in mind can smooth the way forward.
Space the two pregnancies adequately
The ideal gap between two pregnancies that provide the best outcome for mother and baby is considered to range from 18 months to five years. It gives the mother’s body enough time to recover from the first pregnancy beginning of a pregnancy within 6-12 months is associated with an increased risk of premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight and maternal anemia, among others.
Optimize your health
After the first delivery, a woman’s body undergoes a sea change from weight gain to an enlarged uterus to postpartum depression. Some women may also have experienced pregnancy complications or health-related problems during their first pregnancy. Women need to be mindful of their physical and mental health as well as age when planning for a second pregnancy. As the age of women progresses, the quality of eggs decreases, leading to an increased risk of miscarriage or fetal defects. Women should go for a pre-pregnancy health examination so that doctors can identify and treat any worrying health issues.
Adopt healthy habits
To prepare your body for the arrival of the second baby, start eating a wholesome diet rich in iron, calcium and protein. In addition, it is essential for women to lose their postpartum weight and participate in exercises, yoga or aerobics. Excess weight or obesity can cause infertility and few complications that can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. Women are also advised to stop using alcohol, drugs and tobacco when they start getting pregnant for their second baby.
Start tracking ovulation
Most breastfeeding mothers do not get their period for the first 3-6 months as breastfeeding inhibits ovulation. But as women reduce the frequency of breastfeeding, the chances of ovulation begin to increase. Although they may still not get a period, they may already be ovulating, so it is essential to get involved in some form of birth control to avoid an unplanned second pregnancy. In addition, pregnancy can cause several changes to a woman’s menstrual cycle, making tracking ovulation an important step when trying to conceive a second time.
Prepare for firstborn
Your firstborn should be informed about the expected arrival of the new baby and spoiled with extra attention and love so that your first baby does not feel left out. First baby can be included in the care team with parents and grandparents to look after the new baby.
Pregnancy, whether for the first or second time, can be one of the most beautiful and frightening journeys parents take. Understanding the potential risks associated with timing a second pregnancy or assessing health care can help parents make a well-informed decision about when to grow their family.
(Dr Seema Sharma, Obstetrics &
Gynecology, Apollo Cradle & Children Hospital, Moti Nagar)