Every pregnancy is different.
According to Women’s Health, just because you’ve been pregnant before, does not mean you know exactly what you’re in for. One doctor, Shari Brasner, MD, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, states that your second pregnancy will likely be a little different from your first.
Many women question the differences that they may notice while coming to terms with a second pregnancy. It is a mental, physical, physiological, hormonal balancing act and these questions are valid:
The research shows that moms everywhere are worried about something for their unborn children. It seems that most women tend to be full of fears and anxieties during their first pregnancy that mimic those of a paranoid schizophrenic, but then, in their second pregnancy, complain more about worrying that they’re not getting enough sleep.
According to one blogger, she read all the books she could get her hands on with her first child, voraciously reading anything and everything related to pregnancy: books, blogs, message boards… With her second child, she laughs off the exaggerated amount of picture books she’s reading to her toddler. Further mentioning that she has barely picked up a (real) book since the birth of this toddler.
3. Pregnancy Awareness
It is said that, for some moms-to-be, pregnancy and pregnancy talk consumes them. They literally think about being a parent non-stop. With the second pregnancy though, these same moms thought less about the pregnancy and more about their other child.
4. Maternity Wear
Many women have fun being pregnant and as much fun shopping for maternity wear during their first pregnancy. Some moms claim to have worn heels and other cute attire. This is less likely for a second pregnancy, or third or fourth, while you already have a rugrat to chase around all day.
5. Eating/Food Choices
According to Doctor Brasner, the biggest concern during a second pregnancy, nutritionally speaking, is that you may be more iron deficient. She says that pregnancy in general puts a big strain on the iron stores in your blood and many women go into their first pregnancy iron deficient. Accordingly, this, combined with the fact that your body’s already been weakened by your first pregnancy and maybe hasn’t had time to fully recover, could be why you lack the nutrient even more while carrying your second child.
6. Nursery Preparation
There seems to be some traditional sense behind the fact that firstborns generally have nurseries while the second and oncoming children are an afterthought in this preparation process.
7. Birth Preparation
The general consensus seems to be that these first and second time mommies are more lackadaisical with their second birth. Whereas they poured through books and shopped for the unborn child, endlessly, the second child will merely come along and take the siblings hand me downs… should you be lucky enough to have another boy/girl.
The standard this time around is going to be a bit more comfortable. After all, you’ve done this once before.
9. Telling Your Only Child That He or She is Going to be a Big Brother or Sister
This is a personal decision, of course but nonetheless, something you didn’t have to think about the first time around. It is suggested to wait until the pregnancy is well established – that is, sometime after your first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage declines significantly.
Furthermore – There are physical changes too:
10. Additionally, You Will Carry Your Second Baby Lower
Abdominal muscles have been stretched from the first pregnancy and they’re likely weaker – unless you’re a fitness guru that already lost her baby fat – As a result, these muscles cannot support a baby as well as they did before, so the fetus drops lower in your abdomen. Carrying the baby lower in your abdomen has a few side effects that you may not have noticed in your first pregnancy. You may find the urge to urinate frequently, earlier in your pregnancy along with increased pelvic discomfort from the additional pressure on your bladder and pelvic area.
11. Labor Will Likely Be Different, Shorter This Time Around
It is stated that while first-time moms usually spend somewhere between ten and 20 hours in labor, it generally progresses much more quickly for women that have been through it before.
The pushing stage is said to be easier, too. According to one report, first time laborers without an epidural tend to push for about an hour. The average is said to be closer to twenty minutes if you have had a previous vaginal delivery and you’re also less likely to end up with stitches than a first-time mom.
12. You Feel The Baby Move Sooner
It is stated that one of the earliest differences a mother notices in her second pregnancy is that she feels her baby moving sooner than the first time. Accordingly, a first time mom generally notices the baby kicking by the fifth month; an experienced mom however, may recognize movements as early as four months. This is probably because she already knows what a baby moving inside her feels like and she recognizes the weak, early kicks and wiggles. As described by Sherry LM Jiminez MSN from American Baby – At three months of pregnancy, your baby’s first movements may feel like tiny bubbles or butterfly wings brushing against the uterus. First time moms sometimes mistake these flutters for intestinal gas…
13. Second Time Moms Tend to Show about a Month Sooner
Your uterus does not shrink all the way down to its original size after having the first child. This gives it a head start in growing during the next pregnancy.
It is recommended to strengthen the pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises, holding each Kegel for ten seconds in a set of ten, ten times daily.
Furthermore, it is stated that carrying lower may also result in added strain on your lower back. You should speak with your physician about abdominal strengthening exercises that can help reduce back pain. Also take these recommended precautions during your daily activities:
- Avoid heavy lifting or arching your back
- When standing, keep the muscles in your lower back relaxed by bending your knees
- When resting, lie on your side with a pillow between your legs or one or both knees bent
- If you’ll be sitting for a while, relieve some of the pressure on your lower spine by resting your feet on a low stool
In conclusion, there are going to be several differences with your second pregnancy in comparison to your first… and in comparison to any other pregnant woman out there. You are not alone.
The most important thing is for your baby to arrive into a healthy environment. If you are stressed because of your toddler running and you need a nap, well, unfortunately it sounds like you’re going to have to suck it up.
Otherwise, take note that you may be prone to more complications. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mayo Clinic both suggest that the optimal time to wait between births is at least eighteen months. Research shows pre-term birth, low birth weight, and even growth restriction are three of the things you might need to worry about if you’re having a second child very soon after your first. This according to Doctor Brasner – she says that because your body hasn’t had enough time to recover from the physical and nutritional burden of your first pregnancy, complications could arise.
Postpartum recovery will be somewhat different. First, you’ll be aware of what to expect but notice that you’ll probably have more intense afterbirth pains. These cramps are said to be caused by contractions of your uterus as it shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size and location after you have your baby.
According to one report, afterpains are typically mild and short-lived for first-time moms (if they are felt at all!), but they can be quite uncomfortable after a second delivery and usually get worse with each successive pregnancy. The reason being that first-time mothers have better uterine muscle tone so the uterus tends to contract and stay contracted, rather than intermittently relaxing and then contracting again.
Finally, don’t expect to regain your shape as quickly as you may have done with your first child. You’ll need to focus on your workout regimen to regain good muscle tone.