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Planning for a Second Pregnancy: What To Expect

by Katlyn Joy | December 7, 2014 12:12 PM1 Comments

With your second pregnancy, you may feel a bit more at ease about expecting a baby. After all, you have been there, done that. Second pregnancies differ from first in some ways, and all pregnancies are unique in some ways.

Timing is everything

Just like most things, timing is a key factor in subsequent pregnancies. There are many factors to consider when having another child.

Are you and your partner on the same page about adding to your family? It's important that you are in agreement about this, as it will impact you both greatly. No one should feel pressured, either.

Are you in a good place financially? Of course, this is a relative question, but you don't want to go from living paycheck to paycheck to actually struggling to make it at all. The costs will be lower in some ways, however. If it has not been too long, you will be able to reuse many of the baby products needed, such as cribs, highchairs, car seats, and even maternity clothing.

Are you physically ready for another child? How is your health? Running after a little one is taxing enough, but consider just how hard it might be while heavy with a new one.

Are you emotionally prepared for another baby? If you suffered postpartum depression with the first baby, you should be ready to battle it again. It's worth discussing with your physician ahead of time, to make the best preparations.

The importance of spacing between children

Ask anyone, and they'll tell you how it's absolutely imperative you space your children two years apart. Or three. Or four. Everyone has their own experiences and own biases, but there really are some guidelines to consider when planning your family.

Don't plan a pregnancy sooner than 18 to 24 months after the first baby. Reasons for this, according to the Mayo Clinic, include preterm birth, low birth weight and failure to thrive. These are more likely because your body may not have had adequate time to repair and restore itself to full strength. Second pregnancies that occur within 18 months of a c-section have a higher risk of uterine rupture with a vaginal birth with the second child. Women who have had a second child within 12 months after the first have a higher risk of experiencing placenta previa. Placental abruption is also more of a risk in these cases, where the placenta shears away from the uterine wall before birth. In addition, when spaced within a year, second babies are more likely to have autism.

Don't wait too long, either. If you wait five years or longer, there are increased hazards as well. For instance, you have a bigger chance of developing pre-eclampsia, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition for mother and child. You also face some of the same possible problems as babies spaced too closely, such as prematurity, low birthweight or small for gestational age.

Statistically speaking, one-third of all US pregnancies occur within 18 months of the first, according to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute. Moms over 30 are more likely to be in a rush to add to the family, probably because they are aware of the ticking of the biological clock.

Here are some other possible differences with a second baby:

  • You are more likely to become anemic with another baby.
  • You will feel bigger sooner, even though you probably are not, unless you never lost the pounds from the first pregnancy.
  • You'll feel the baby move sooner.
  • The aches and pains, such as back pain, varicose veins and hemorrhoids are likely to show up sooner than they did in the first pregnancy.
  • If you are Rh negative, you'll need to be aware of any bleeding to get a shot of Rhogam to protect your second child. Second children are the targets of Rh disease.
  • You are likely to be more tired with this pregnancy, primarily because you are already a busy Mommy while growing this new baby.

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Guest Dec 20, 2014 09:34:51 AM ET

How can i conceive a boy?

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