Baby number two?
Are you and your body ready?
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