Planning a second child?
Pregnancy is one of the most rewarding as well as the most demanding journeys of life. But once you become a parent, your world shrinks and revolves around the tiny bundle of joy you brought into this world. Parents begin to devote all their time, attention and care to their baby.
Pregnancy is one of the most rewarding as well as the most demanding journeys of life. But once you become a parent, your world shrinks and revolves around the tiny bundle of joy you brought into this world. Parents begin to devote all their time, attention and care to their baby. And while changing the nappies, spending sleepless nights and walking 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 double responsibilities. Not only do mothers have to be extra careful about their ticking biological clock but also pay attention to their physical and mental health. Second pregnancy comes with a host of challenges, planning and keeping certain things in mind can smoothen the path ahead.
Space the two pregnancies adequately
The ideal gap between two pregnancies which gives the best outcome for mother and baby is considered to vary from 18 months to five years. This gives the mother's body enough time to recover from the first pregnancy beginning a pregnancy within 6-12 months is associated with an increased risk of premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight and maternal anaemia, among others.
Optimise your health
After the first childbirth, a woman's body undergoes a sea change from weight gain to an enlarged uterus to postpartum depression. Some women may also have endured pregnancy complications or health-related issues during their first pregnancy. Women need to be attentive to their physical and mental health as well as age when planning for a second pregnancy. As the age of women advances, the quality of eggs decreases, leading to a higher risk of miscarriage or foetal defects. Women should go for a pre pregnancy health check-up so doctors can identify and treat any alarming health concerns.
Adopt healthy habits
To prepare your body for the second baby's arrival, start eating a wholesome diet rich in iron, calcium and protein. Additionally, it is essential for women to lose their postpartum weight and engage in exercises, yoga or aerobics. Excess weight or obesity can cause infertility and few complications which can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. Women are also advised to give up on alcohol, drugs and tobacco consumption when they start conceiving 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 for ovulation begin to increase. While they may still not get a period, they might already be ovulating, so it is essential to engage in some form of birth control to avoid an unplanned second pregnancy. Additionally, pregnancy can cause several changes to a woman's menstrual cycle, which makes tracking ovulation an important step when trying to conceive the second time around.
Prepare for first born
Your first born needs to be informed about the expected arrival of the new baby and pampered with extra attention and love so your first baby does not feel left out. First baby can be included in the care giver team along with parents and grand- parents to look after the new baby.
Pregnancy, regardless of the first or second time, can be one of the most beautiful and daunting journeys parents undertake. Understanding the possible risks associated with timing the second pregnancy or assessing health concerns 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)