Dear Bundoo: Can I get pregnant after my abortion?
This week, one hopeful mom-to-be wonders if her past abortion will hurt her chances of getting pregnant, while another mom is tired of being a human pacifier for her 9-month-old insomniac. Dear Bundoo is where we answer your parenting and relationship questions anonymously.
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I had an abortion when I was 22. It was the right decision for me at the time, but now seven years later, I’m happily married and ready to have children with my wonderful husband. We’ve been trying to have children for four months, but nothing has happened. Did my abortion affect my body to the point that I may not be able to conceive?
Dear Aborted Family,
Thank you for submitting this question, since this is a question many women have but are afraid to ask out of guilt—and you should not feel ashamed! I don’t know the details of your case, but abortions can be done by taking medicine or having a surgical procedure called a dilation and curettage (or “D&C”). The good news is that having a D&C (which can be done for multiple reasons including a miscarriage, abortion, or heavy bleeding) does not put a woman at an increased risk of infertility.
In addition, you’ve only been trying to conceive for four months. At your age (less than 35 years old), an infertility workup would only begin after twelve months of trying (unless you are not having normal periods—in that case you should talk with your doctor now as you may have an issue with ovulating). Therefore, not being pregnant after only four months is very normal. My guess is that even though it hasn’t been very long that you are trying to get pregnant, your previous abortion has you very worried that you did something to mess up your chances of conceiving. Please rest assured that you did nothing harmful and made the choice that was right for you at the time. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins and having fun in the process of getting pregnant!
Answered by Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, Bundoo OB/GYN
I have a 9-month-old who is still not sleeping through the night. She wakes up about five times a night. She refuses to take her pacifier, and there is nothing I can do that will calm her (only breastfeeding). Her pediatrician said she doesn’t need to be eating at night anymore…Why does she do this and what can I do to get her to sleep?
Dear Pacifier Mom,
Your pediatrician is right: this constant awakening has nothing to do with eating. This pattern is all about her need to be soothed back into a deeper sleep cycle. Your sweetie doesn’t want a paci because YOU are her pacifier! Each time she cycles out of a deep sleep, she looks for her reassurance object—which unfortunately is you. If she can’t find it, she gets upset and unsettled. She hasn’t really learned to self-soothe and fall back to sleep alone.
Some sleep training is in order! It will take a bit of time, but you can help her learn this very important skill. Take a good look at her sleep schedule and sleep environment. Is it consistent? Is the room cool and free from outside noise? Make sure the structure of good sleep is in place with a predictable routine. Then decide how you want to help her learn to sleep on her own. Can another partner go in to soothe her so she first learns that she does not need the breast? Can you introduce a small lovey into the bed that she can cuddle with when falling asleep? Can you wait first a few minutes, then five, then 10, before going in to get her back to sleep? Taking consistent, gradual steps to allow her the independence to fall asleep again can work wonders. It won’t happen overnight, but you can make this happen!
Answered by Dr. Sara Connolly, Bundoo Pediatrician