Ask the experts: Timeline to conceive

By Published On: January 28th, 2013

My husband and I started our family later in life […]

My husband and I started our family later in life but we are still hoping to have several kids. We just welcomed our first-born three months ago—how long do we need to wait before we begin trying for baby number two?

PregnancyTestCongratulations on your family’s newest addition! Most obstetricians recommend spacing at least one year between pregnancies since a woman’s body undergoes significant physical and hormonal changes during gestation and delivery. Breastfeeding can also completely or partially prevent regular ovulation and further deplete the maternal stores of vitamins and minerals vital to the health and well-being of the mother as well as her future baby. As you can see, it’s important to allow some time for the body to heal prior to trying to conceive.On the other hand, we know that fertility declines with age. For women in their late 30s and early 40s, even a few months delay can make it more difficult to get pregnant at all. As a compromise, I recommend waiting at least three months after exclusive breastfeeding or six months after your last delivery to begin trying again. If fertility is an issue and you’re older that 35, I also recommend seeking your doctor’s advice should pregnancy not occur within six months of trying. Good luck!
—Liyun Li, MD,reproductive endocrinologist at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco