Do couples have an easier time getting pregnant after they have already had a child?
I’ll confess, my interest in this topic is personal. We were one of these couples. We took over a year to conceive my son, but our second was a surprise.
Back when my first was born, as we were getting ready to head home after three long days in the hospital, with round-the-clock wake ups, I made the mistake of telling our delivery nurse that we were not planning to use birth control.
She immediately launched into a lecture that we needed birth control. “Giving birth can reset your fertility,” she stated matter-of-factly. And then added sternly that we needed to start using birth control as soon as we resumed having sex.
Although she briefly made me feel like an errant teenager, I did not take her advice very seriously.
Various reputable sources of medical information, such as WebMd, state that the prior births do not “reset” a woman’s fertility,asserting that the notion is a myth.
Two recent studies, however, suggest there might be something to this idea after all.
Kenneth Rothman of Boston University, led a prospective study, which followed 2820 Danish couples who were trying to conceive for up to 12 cycles.
Rothman then calculated how the woman’s age affected a couple’s fecundability ratio–a statistical estimate of a couple’s ability to conceive each menstrual cycle.
Couples in which the woman had given birth before–about half of the couples in their early 30s and two-thirds of those in their mid to late 30s–had much higher fecundability throughout their 30s: