After you’ve had your first child, you may feel like you know the ropes: morning sickness, prenatal vitamins, diet changes—all of those things are familiar to you know. Even if you’ve been pregnant before and have an idea of what to expect, there are second pregnancy differences that will distinguish carrying this child from your first. You’d be surprised to know how many of the little things will be different this time around for you and other pregnant women. Here are some second pregnancy differences you can expect during this pregnancy.
While the first pregnancy had its own emotional challenges, you’ll have a whole new set of emotional struggles with your second pregnancy. The reason for this second pregnancy difference is that you’ve not only got to take care of yourself and your unborn child, but you’ve also got to care for your first child all while you deal with the challenges of being pregnant. This is one of the second pregnancy differences people don’t think about very much since it doesn’t relate to how you physically carry your child.
Raising a child while pregnant is very stressful, and it takes a lot of time out of your day. You won’t have the time to rest like you probably did during your first pregnancy because of your first child, so you’ll feel more tired and sensitive to emotional changes. You might even so busy with the day-to-day challenges of life that you spend less time concerned about your second pregnancy than you did your first—this is okay. And since you already know what having a baby is going to cost similar concerns, you might naturally focus on other more immediate concerns. The fact that you’re not stressing over your diet, the baby’s room and making sure you’re getting the right nutrients doesn’t mean you care for your second baby less; it’s just a fact of life, and you shouldn’t feel guilty.
In addition to the emotional challenges associated with your second pregnancy, the physical changes in your body can be counted among the second pregnancy differences. A big difference is that you’ll carry your baby lower than you did when you were pregnant with your first child. This means that instead of being up towards your chest, your baby bump will be lower and closer to your pelvis. This is because the muscles in your abdomen were stretched during your first pregnancy and never quite recover, making them unable to hold your baby as high as they did the first time around. This causes your baby bump to show sooner and your stomach to sag a bit. Good luck keeping it a secret as long as you did the first time around!
The sagging will bring with it several changes as well. These include:
- Having more lower back pain and pregnancy back pain because your stomach muscles won’t be supporting your baby as much as your back muscles will
- More pregnancy weight gain
- Needing to urinate frequently because the weight of your baby will press against your bladder
- Easier breathing because the weight is off of your diaphragm and lower on your body
- Being able to deliver the baby much faster the second time around because you’ve already stretched your stomach, uterus and vaginal areas.
As you can see, the second pregnancy differences your body will go through are a mixed bag. There are some things that are a benefit and some that will be challenging, but at least in this area your first pregnancy will give you some idea of what to expect.
Feeling your Baby
Speaking of knowing what to expect, the experience of feeling your baby during your first pregnancy will allow you to tell the difference between feeling your baby move and normal gastrointestinal activity. Many women report being able to feel their baby move during the second pregnancy at only 3 or 4 months, about a full month before they could tell when their baby was moving during the first pregnancy. Knowing how it feels to have your baby kick and move around inside will allow you to recognize these things right away when you’re pregnant for the second time.
Though there are many second pregnancy differences that you will notice while you carry this child, there are also a lot of similarities between having the second child and the first. In fact, you can expect most of your pregnancy experience to be the same or even better this time around. You might experience varicose veins or melasma (brownish spots on your stomach area) like you did in the first pregnancy. You might also have those painful Braxton-Hicks contractions you did, as well.
One of the benefits of being pregnant the second time is that since you know what’s coming and what you should look out for, you’re in a position to take better care of yourself and your baby. Even if you did everything you could to have a successful first pregnancy, one of the best second pregnancy differences is that you know what to expect. If you had gestational diabetes the first time around, you’ll probably have it with your second pregnancy, too, and you can take steps to keep it under control. Other high risk complications with pregnancy such as anemia, obstetric cholestasis and pre-eclampsia can also be anticipated and dealt with better this time. You’ll know how to plan visits to your OB-GYN and prepare better for having a new child in your home.
While there are a few second pregnancy differences and second pregnancy symptoms that seem like they’ll be unpleasant, there are also upsides to being pregnant again. The most important thing you can do during your second pregnancy is continue to be vigilant in making visits to your doctor from your early pregnancy to delivery. She or he will be able to help you monitor your health and the baby’s health. Even though you’ll be busy preparing for a new baby while trying to raise your first child, it’s essential that you make your visits so any health complications can be dealt with as soon as possible.
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