There is something extremely cool about your second pregnancy. At this point you feel kind of like a ninja: Doer of the impossible, keeper of ancient secrets, multitasker extraordinaire. This isn't your first rodeo and you know what to expect from both pregnancy and childbirth. Perhaps because of the notch in your belt, you start looking for the old familiar signs and symptoms along the way like the pro that you are. And more than likely, one of the markers you've got your eyes peeled for is a growing belly. Do you get bigger more quickly during your second pregnancy? Or is it a figment of your imagination?
According to Today's Parent, it's no myth. Since your uterus never fully returns to its pre-pregnancy size after giving birth even once, it has what you might call a head start in the expansion process the second (and subsequent) time around. (Overachiever.) Depending on your perspective, this could either be good or bad news. Many pregnant women enjoy showing off that early bump, and if you suffer from severe morning sickness, it can be nice to have visual proof of new life to remind you that you're not insane for doing this.
Other expectant moms feel differently. If you're bummed about your bump emerging earlier than before, it might be because you are trying to wait longer to share the news with others, or perhaps you were feeling dissatisfied with your body when you found out you were pregnant. Whatever reaction you find yourself having upon the realization that you're soon headed for those trusty maternity pants again, cut yourself some slack. There's no right or wrong response, and struggling with your bod doesn't make you any less of an amazing mother.
And then again, every woman is different. While experts agree that second-time moms usually start showing about a month earlier than they did the first time around, according to Parents, not every woman will notice a sizable (see what I did there?) difference. In my own experience, I have so much bloating with all of my early pregnancies that the bump looks pretty much the same every time — like I'm already in my second trimester at about eight weeks. So you can go ahead and be jealous of that.
Since all I can know is my own experience, I thought it would be enlightening to reach out to other moms and find out what they have to say. Unsurprisingly, these women's responses lined up with what the medical community seems to all agree on: Second time mama usually find themselves with bigger bumps, earlier.
Cat, a mother of two in New York, didn't hesitate when I asked on Facebook whether she had started showing earlier with her second baby. "Immediately," she jokes. "Like before I even got pregnant."
Jacquie, a mom of four in Iowa, tells Romper she wasn't the only one who noticed the size difference between her pregnancies. "When I was pregnant with my first, people said beautiful things like 'You don't even look pregnant!' and 'There's no way you're due tomorrow,'" she says. "But with the second, things took a dramatic turn. 'Oh you poor thing!' and 'Don't worry, the baby will be out soon!' became the norm at about five months.'"
And Nebraska-based Becca — who recently gave birth to her second son — tells Romper, "Everything about this baby was bigger for me! I noticed a baby bump soon after taking a pregnancy test and transitioned into maternity clothes much quicker than I remember with my first."
So if you're finding yourself reaching for that stretchy waistband at six weeks gestation, you're in good company. Hopefully you have some mom friends who can commiserate with some laughs and solidarity. If not, it seems I have a few I could loan you.
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