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How Your Second Pregnancy May Be Different Than Your First

Katlyn Joy |14, June 2013


Been there, done that. You're no newbie this time around so you know what to expect with this baby and labor, right? Well, maybe. Some things will be familiar for sure but don't get too settled in for a return ride. Many things may change this time.

Energy levels.

You may experience more fatigue this time for the simple fact you're already a mom and parenting is a tiring job in itself let alone doing it while growing a new baby. If you only experienced tiredness towards the end of your first pregnancy, don't be surprised at it happening much sooner in this one. To combat fatigue, get a daily walk. Pumping more oxygen in your system through exercise will energize you as well as keep you in good shape for labor and losing the baby weight later. Also nap when your older child does. Never underestimate the value of a power nap.

Morning sickness.

Didn't have it the first time? You still may experience it this time. Or if you did have it, it may be a no show this time or possibly be even worse with a second pregnancy.


In your first pregnancy you couldn't drink enough lemonade and you snacked day and night on hot ham and cheese sandwiches with banana peppers. This time you may need orange juice round the clock with a tuna on rye.


You will show much sooner in a subsequent pregnancy, up to a month sooner. The reason is your uterus didn't shrink all the way back to pre-pregnancy size plus your muscles may be more lax now.

Gotta go.

You may need to run to the bathroom more often and you're more likely to experience those annoying urine leaks when you cough, laugh or sneeze. This happens because your abdominal muscles and pelvis muscles are weaker after giving birth. This means baby will be hanging lower in your abdomen now and pressing on your bladder all the time. Good news is that you won't feel as cramped high in your abdomen which means less breathlessness.

Breast changes.

While you may have experienced plenty of soreness, tingling and such in your first pregnancy, but this time you may get all that plus darker areolas and itchy nipples.

Movement or quickening.

You'll probably feel baby's first movements earlier this time, as soon as week 16 possibly. Since you'll show sooner, it's only fair you'll feel baby sooner too. You may even feel bubbles of movement as early as your third month, and this time you'll be familiar and more able to realize what those fluttering are.

Back pain.

Since you are already taking care of a child you can't help bending, stooping and carrying extra weight on top of the big bun in the oven. Learn the best ways to pick up things, by using your legs rather than putting the weight on your back.

Weight gain.

You may pack on more pounds this time, especially if you already were carrying around a few leftover pounds from the last pregnancy. You also are older now and your metabolism is likely to slow up as you get older.


Second time mothers are more confident as the fear of the unknown is greatly diminished in subsequent pregnancies. You know what lies ahead, at least in general. You also know you'll be OK and worry far less about things you are unlikely to experience.


You are likely more able to focus on topics other than pregnancy this time, compared to last, as it's not so new. You probably will take less photos, read fewer books and obsess over every twinge and ache less.

More preparation pains.

If you didn't even notice those practice contractions that appear weeks before labor, you may notice them this time. They are also more likely to be painful in a second pregnancy. Just remember they are getting your body ready for the big moment.

More watching.

Your doctor will be watching you more closely for complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, multiples or hypertension since you are older this time out and the risks of these increases with age.

A quicker and easier birth.

Well, hopefully. Most times second deliveries are easier and faster since the path has been blazed before. On average, second time labors are 6 to 8 hours long while first-timers spend 12 to 14 hours delivering baby. Of course if the second baby is considerably larger this may slow things somewhat.

Ability to labor efficiently.

You are not likely to be as tense at the start of childbirth as you may have been the first time. This means your perception of pain is lowered. Any anxiety will heighten your pain so being relaxed and going with the flow of labor instead of fighting against it will make a big positive difference. Your cervix will also dilate more quickly on average with a second or later baby.


These may have been missed in your first pregnancies but this time you may need some pain medication to help.

Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.

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