Baby num­ber two?

Are you and your body ready?

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

A SPERM CELL CAN TAKE UP TO THREE MONTHS TO MA­TURE

T here ac­tu­ally IS such a thing as a right time to try to be­come preg­nant with your next baby. But lis­ten to your body, not to the busy­bod­ies in your life, to fig­ure out when that right time is for you. Here’s how.

Your chances of a healthy, happy se­cond preg­nancy are best if you can an­swer yes to the fol­low­ing ques­tions: 1 IS IT 18 TO 23 MONTHS SINCE YOU LAST GAVE BIRTH? In pre-tech­no­log­i­cal so­ci­eties where moth­ers breast­fed con­stantly, chil­dren were nat­u­rally spaced about two years apart, says Sylvia Brown in her book, The Post-preg­nancy

Hand­book, and re­search shows this could be best for moth­ers and ba­bies. A 1999 study by the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol led by Dr Zhu found that ba­bies con­ceived less than six months af­ter the birth of the older sib­ling had a higher risk of be­ing born early, or with a low birth weight. Those at the low­est risk were con­ceived be­tween 18 and 23 months af­ter the first­born. 2 HAS YOUR PELVIC FLOOR RE­COV­ERED? Preg­nancy is a mas­sive strain on the mus­cles that hold your pelvic area to­gether. If you still strug­gle with back­ache, haem­or­rhoids, pain in your per­ineum (the area be­tween your vagina and anus), or you leak be­tween wees (that’s called uri­nary in­con­ti­nence in doc­tor-speak) or have trou­ble en­joy­ing sex, th­ese could all be signs that your body is still car­ry­ing some trauma from your first time round. Don’t ex­pect your body to be the same as be­fore your first preg­nancy, and cer­tainly not for the first few months post­par­tum and while you are lac­tat­ing. Says Sylvia, “The preg­nancy hor­mone re­laxin, which in­creases the size and elas­tic­ity of con­nec­tive tis­sues (lig­a­ments and mus­cles), will re­main in a new mother’s body for up to five months. Pro­lactin, the hor­mone which pro­duces milk in breast­feed­ing moth­ers, has a sim­i­lar ef­fect.” Your body may be less re­silient and less strong for quite some time af­ter giv­ing birth. 3 ARE YOU GET­TING ENOUGH SLEEP? Ha. Okay, by “enough” we don’t mean “as much as you would like”, but in­stead, “as much as you can cope on”, (which is prob­a­bly around the amount you will have to get used to for the rest of your par­ent­ing life!). If your baby has more or less set­tled into him- or her­self, and sleeps at least pre­dictably most of the time, and you’re cop­ing, it will be eas­ier to man­age a sub­se­quent preg­nancy. Do re­alise, of course, that preg­nancy, and then a new baby, will dis­turb your sleep once more. On top of that, many el­dest chil­dren start

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