You might assume, as many people do, that the second pregnancy is easier than the first. After all, you’ve already conceived a child and brought a child into the world. So, you know the ropes and what to expect. The second time around should be a breeze. Right? Not necessarily. In fact, your second pregnancy may be harder on you physically and mentally than your first one. Here are some reasons why.
Depending upon when you had your first child and how long you waited to get pregnant the second time, you’re a little older – and sometimes significantly older, especially with the trend toward having babies later in life. Even a few years can make a difference in how your body responds to pregnancy. Plus, you may have gained a few pounds, especially if you’ve slacked off on your fitness routine. The fitter you are going into pregnancy, the easier it will be on your body. If you’re older and aren’t as physically fit as you were the first time, the second pregnancy may be harder than the first.
You Already Have a Child
Things might have been easier the first time around because you were able to focus more on you. That’s not the case if you have another child at home. You actually ARE a mom while you wait to become one – and that can get complicated. You no longer have the luxury of lying in bed with a cool towel on your face when morning sickness rears its ugly head or your back hurts and you’re tired. You have another human being who depends on you for attention.
The back discomfort and achy legs you experienced during your first pregnancy may rear its ugly head the second time around – and even earlier this time. Why earlier? Your abdominal muscles were stretched during the first pregnancy and didn’t completely recover. A “stretchable” tummy can expand more quickly and place extra pressure on your back. Achy legs, typically due to varicose veins, can also show up sooner since the veins were damaged to some degree by your first pregnancy.
What about Morning Sickness?
You may have more or less nausea and vomiting the second time around. Morning sickness is triggered by hormonal changes and the quantity of hormones your body pumps out varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. You might have breezed through your first pregnancy without a twinge of nausea and still get hit with it hard the second time around. You can’t always predict morning sickness based on past pregnancies. So, be prepared!
Some Good News
The second pregnancy isn’t all bad news. Your uterus stretched during the first pregnancy so delivery will be faster the second time. Who doesn’t want to get it over with as quickly as possible? You’ll get your wish the second time. Plus, you’re a lot wiser and more “baby savvy” now. That works in your favor before AND after giving birth.
The Bottom Line
Each pregnancy is a little different, even the hormonal changes you get can vary. Yet, the greatest differences typically occur between the first and second pregnancy. That’s because the first pregnancy changes your body. Fortunately, it also makes you wiser and more experienced – and that’s a positive!
Parents.com. “Second-Pregnancy Differences”
Best Health Magazine Canada. “Pregnancy the Second Time Around”