Even though you’ve been there, birthed that, your second pregnancy might bring a few surprises in comparison with your first. From pregnancy symptoms to how long your labor lasts, here are a few of the most common differences.
So you’re pregnant with baby number two? Congrats! No need to read on, right? After all, you’ve been there, done that and know exactly what will happen to your body between now and that moment when you give your final push.
Not so fast. The truth is, you might not feel exactly the same this time around — and not just because you don’t have the same newbie nerves. It turns out there are a few ways in which a second pregnancy differs physiologically from a first one. Avoid any surprises by finding out just what’s in store over the next few months.
1. You’ll probably “feel” pregnant sooner. Most second timers are more attuned to the early symptoms of pregnancy and more apt to recognize them. That said, the symptoms themselves might vary from the last time — you might have more or less morning sickness or other tummy troubles, or more or less urinary frequency.
2. Some symptoms might seem less pronounced. On that note, some good news: You might notice that common woes like food aversions and breast enlargement seem less severe this time around. And you might also feel a bit less worried and more relaxed, too, since you’ve already been there, done that and lived to tell about it.
3. But you might be more tired. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, you’re already busy doing this whole mom thing, trying to meet the nonstop demands of your first. Who can nap when there’s Play-Doh to clean up off the floor and a command performance of The Very Hungry Caterpillar scheduled for right this second? Try these tips to feel more energized.
4. You might show sooner. Because your abdominal and uterine muscles stretched during your first pregnancy, they’re inevitably looser this time around. That means they don’t hold things in quite as firmly — so your bump will likely “pop” much sooner than the first time. Think of it this way: Your uterus is a bit like balloon that’s easier to blow up.
5. You might carry lower. Again, this is because your uterine muscles aren’t as firm as they once were, and also because baby number two (or three or four) is liable to be larger than your firstborn. (Another not-so-fun potential result: Potentially more back pain and other pregnancy aches.)
6. You might notice fetal movement sooner. Remember when those weird, bubbly, fluttery things in your first pregnancy had you reaching for the Tums because you assumed it was gas? Now you’ve wizened up and now know that was the baby moving. So by month 4 of this pregnancy, you’re more likely to be aware of the baby kicking (instead of closer to month 5 for first-timers). Chalk it up to experience and knowing what to expect.
7. Your Braxton-Hicks contractions might be different. You may deal with more noticeable or intense “false labor” contractions — or notice them sooner — in this pregnancy.
8. Did we mention your labor might be shorter? There’s some good news when it comes to how long you might have to spend in the delivery room: The second phase of labor for a first-time mom can last two to three hours or longer, while for second-timers it may take half that much time. And pushing the baby out tends to be quicker the second time around, too. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, your cervix is less rigid now, so dilation and effacement tend to happen more quickly. And because the cervix and vaginal tissue are more pliant, they yield to the pressure of the baby’s head more easily. The baby is more apt to “pop right out,” in other words.
9. Your after-pains might be more severe. Postpartum contractions are your body’s way of shrinking your uterus back down to size. Since your uterus is bigger to begin with this time, the process may be potentially more painful.
10. Breastfeeding might be easier. Of course this is partly due to the fact that you’ve done this before and therefore have a better idea of what to do now. But what you may not realize is that, according to one study, your body is physically primed to lactate: Changes in your mammary glands make them ready to more quickly deliver milk the second time.
Featured image credit: Instagram.com/lynnettessilhouettes