For moms who've experienced their second pregnancy already, it's safe to say it was probably nothing like its predecessor. My first was a breeze compared to my second, which was totally miserable. There were also a ton of differences that popped up I wish I'd known about prior, and after speaking with several professionals, Romper found out there are things your OB-GYN desperately wants you to know about your second pregnancy too.
Every pregnancy is different for each individual. But there are still a lot of common denominators between general pregnancy when it comes to behaviors and struggles throughout. What about the differences between a first and second pregnancy though? Surely there are typical questions and concerns that come to life the second time around. Although I was more experienced my second time through pregnancy, I still felt there were very pointed differences that I had no way of predicting.
Luckily, it turns out there are a few things OB-GYNs are used to seeing the second time around that they can predict. So if you're planning to have another baby or currently in your second pregnancy, you'll definitely want to read over these things an OB-GYN wants you to know.
1. Your Second Pregnancy Won't Be Like Your First
In an interview with Astroglide’s resident sexual health advisor Dr. Angela Jones, she states that "Every pregnancy is different." Because your body is different and you, as a person, are different, it's completely logical that your second pregnancy will also be different, according to Jones.
2. You Might Show Earlier
Dr. Jennifer L. Benedict, OB-GYN at Kaiser Permanente South Bay in Harbor City, California, tells Romper, "Your uterus and abdominal muscles will stretch more quickly during a second (or third) pregnancy — meaning that your bump will likely show earlier than it did the first time around." Luckily, Benedict shares the growth in size often evens out throughout the pregnancy.
3. Your Labor Will Likely Be Quicker
There are some positives worth noting for the second time around as well. "One of the best things about a second pregnancy is that your labor is typically shorter," says Benedict. "Assuming your first delivery was vaginal, then your labor will go faster because your body has done this before."
4. Sorry, But You Could Be Even More Tired
Pregnancy fatigue is a real thing, and according to Benedict, "Having a child already at home makes it difficult to find time to rest." She suggests using time during your second pregnancy to start transitioning responsibilities to your partner or other family members.
5. Braxton Hicks Is More Common In Round Two
In an interview with Today's Parent, registered midwife Nicola Strydom shared that your body is more likely to recognize and feel Braxton Hicks during your second pregnancy. This is, in part, due to the fact you've felt an effective, real contraction before during your first birth.
6. You'll Be More Prepared, But Don't Skip Routine Care
OB-GYN Dr. Brooke Schexnaildre of Oschner Health Center tells Romper that you will likely be more prepared the second time around, but you should still go to your doctor for routine prenatal care. Regardless of how experienced you feel, "it's still important for your doctor to regularly monitor how your pregnancy is progressing for both your health and your baby's."
7. Your Baby Is Safe In Your Belly
It's likely your first child is around toddler age and rambunctious as ever, which may seem like a safety issue for your baby belly when it comes to roughhousing or carrying around your first. Luckily, Schexnaildre says that it's normal to "expect a few light hits to your belly just through routine play," but it's nothing to be concerned about. She adds that "if taking care of your child like normal was harmful, no one would have younger siblings."
8. Incontinence Is More Extreme
OB-GYN Dr. Sherry Ross and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California tells Romper that you'll "lose urine with laughing, coughing, exercise, and even with sex." Chances are incontinence will be more extreme the second time around, but can often be battled during and after pregnancy with Kegel exercises, according to Everyday Health.
9. First Pregnancy Conditions Can Mean Second Pregnancy Risks
If you had hyperemesis gravidarum, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm labor, or a C-section during your first pregnancy, Ross shares that you're at risk — potentially even increased risk — for having it during your second pregnancy as well. Additionally, if you had gestational diabetes during your first pregnancy, you're also more likely to have it with your second, according to Baby Center.
10. Back Pain Can Be More Prominent
"Physically, your lower back pain may start at 28 weeks instead of 36 weeks," says Ross. It's also likely that back pain is worse throughout your second pregnancy if you're chasing around or holding another little one and picking things up off the ground more often.
11. With Age, Pregnancy Can Change
Logically, you will age from your first pregnancy to your second, whether it's a one year difference or eight years. Co-founder of Truly MD and Director of Fertility Preservation at CCRM New York Dr. Jaime Knopman tells Romper, "Our bodies react differently to pregnancy as we age." She shares that because of the age change, you will often feel different just due to being older.
12. Vaginal Delivery After C-Section Is Totally Possible
Although many women are concerned they can't have a vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC), Knopman tells Romper that the most important factor is the reason you had your first. If your C-section was because of fetal position (breech) or placental issue (previa) and it's a nonissue this time, Knopman encourages you to go for a VBAC. Keep in mind, however, that "if your C-section was for an arrest of dilation or descent, you can still try for a VBAC but the chances of success are lower," according to Knopman.
13. Your Afterpains Are More Prominent
After my second child, the vaginal soreness wasn't as big of a deal, but the pain and cramping in my uterus was much worse — especially during initial letdown when breastfeeding. According to the aforementioned Today's Parent article, this is because the uterus has less muscle tone the second time around and is more aggressive at clamping down to decrease chances of bleeding.
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