How will my 2nd pregnancy be different from my first?

pregnant women laying on the grass

There’s good news. The good news is that everything about pregnancy won’t come as a complete surprise. You’ll know about the aches and pains, the swollen ankles, what to wear (and what not to wear), basics about breastfeeding, and of course how to care for a newborn. However, every pregnancy is different. So although you’re well prepared, each pregnancy has its own quirks and surprises.

You may have had a difficult pregnancy with your first child. This time it’s entirely possible that you’ll have a much easier go. Conversely, you may have sailed through your first pregnancy but have a tougher one this time around.

When it comes down to it, no one can predict what any particular pregnancy will be like. Here are some things that most women find changed from one pregnancy to the next.

1- Tiredness

Many women tend to feel more tired and fatigued in later pregnancies. That’s usually because you are tending to another child. You have less time to devote to yourself and relax. Unlike your first pregnancy, you probably don’t have time or chance to take a nap.

2- Aches and pains

The back pain will still be with you this pregnancy. Unfortunately, it’s worse if you didn’t get a chance to exercise and get your abdominal muscles back into shape after your last delivery. Most doctors recommend abdominal strengthening exercises after birth (with the approval of your OBGYN) to lessen back pain. Since it might be too late to for that, think about light-moderate activities while you’re pregnant to keep you active. Consider things like

  • walking,
  • swimming, and
  • light yoga

as it may be beneficial. However, always speak to your doctor first before engaging in physical activity while pregnant.

3- Get ahead of your symptoms

Did you have heartburn during your first pregnancy or suffer from really bad morning sickness?

Take a minute to think about to what helped you with these symptoms during your first pregnancy. If you found that carbohydrates helped your morning sickness, incorporate more into your diet before it hits. The same is true for other symptoms like hemorrhoids or constipation –drink more water and eat more fiber. Try to stay a step ahead of your symptoms when and where you can.

4- Pregnancy complications

If you’re healthy and had a straightforward pregnancy with your first child, your risk for complications is now much lower.

However, if you had a complication with a past pregnancy, like high blood pressure or pre-term labor, you have an increased risk of developing that same complication with this pregnancy1. In the interim, if you’ve also developed a chronic medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or significant weight gain, then these may also play a role in your current pregnancy.

Your obstetrician will be able to sit down and discuss this in detail with you. If you have a new obstetrician or medical provider, make sure that they are aware of your past medical history. If in doubt, mention it!

5- Giving birth

Thankfully, most women who have given birth tend to have faster labors with each successive pregnancy. Once the body has gone through the motions of labor, it ‘remembers’ the process. The transition between each phase becomes much smoother.

First-time moms are usually in labor for about 12 to 18 hours, on average. If you’ve had a baby before, labor usually goes more quickly, usually about half that amount of time2.

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1) Healthline. Preeclampsia: Second Pregnancy Risks. 15 March 2012.

2) WebMD. Prolonged labour.

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