Secrets of the Second Pregnancy
First pregnancies can be glorious, fear inducing, and awe inspiring, often all in one day. But what about the second or third time around? It’s easy to adopt a been-there-done-that attitude during a second pregnancy. One pregnancy is essentially the same as the next, right? Think again.
Every child, every woman and every pregnancy is different.
No two pregnancies are alike. If you were sick throughout your first pregnancy, this one might sail by with barely a hint of nausea. Couldn’t stand the sight of ice cream last time? You may eat it morning, noon and night with this one. There is no way to know how each pregnancy, and each child, will turn out. There are, however, a few common differences with subsequent pregnancies.
The Belly Bump
You may find yourself grabbing those maternity pants sooner than expected. Like a balloon that’s easier to inflate the second or third time, so too is the uterus. The Mayo Clinic refers to this as the “warmed up” effect. Abdominal muscles and ligaments have already been stretched once making it oh so easy to stretch again.
Was there bad back pain with the first baby? If so, you can expect this pain again. It will probably be more intense and definitely start sooner. The same seems to apply to pelvic pressure as well.
Women who have joint or back problems before pregnancy will have to break out the heating pads. “For woman with back and hip problems before pregnancy, these will be worse during pregnancy,” Warns Dr. Amy Trout, an OB/GYN at the Independence Women’s Clinic. “We get a lot of aches and pains sooner, too.”
It’s not all pain and gain, though. Women in their second or greater pregnancy feel their baby’s kicks and wiggles sooner than with the first. Most women feel the first baby move by the 20th week of pregnancy. With subsequent pregnancies, you could feel the baby move by the 15th or 16th week, or even earlier.
Labor and delivery also tend to be shorter with sequel pregnancies. Women in their second pregnancy tend to labor before the due date. Again, your body has done this once before. Some of this can also be attributed to the mother’s being more relaxed and self-assured. This is where the been-there-done-that mind-set actually can help. Labor for any mother tends to run more quickly when she is relaxed and as calm as possible. Having already gone through labor and delivery once can take the fear of the unknown out of the equation.
Wisdom from Experience
Having gone through pregnancy once can make the second easier. As with labor and delivery, you know what to expect. You know the main components that make a pregnancy. Nothing is as scary as it is the first time. “Most moms are not as nervous about labor the second time around like they were the first time and seem to do just fine. For most of us, we are so busy with our first child, we don’t seem so worried during our next pregnancy!” Dr. Trout says.
The most important thing to remember is to enjoy each and every pregnancy as its own. No two are alike and each one, like each child, is extraordinary in its own way.
Kerry Chafin is a freelance writer based in Independence and is a mother of three.