Pregnancy: The Second Time Around

Pregnant Mother together with son.
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A second pregnancy does have its differences. Despite the fact that you are a veteran, you will be in for some surprises, both physical and mental. Not to mention, you will need to help prepare your other children for the new baby.

Physical Difference in a Second Pregnancy

Physically you will find that you experience a lot of the sensations of tugging, pulling and expanding about a month sooner than in your first pregnancy.

This is because the uterus is less likely to yield having stretched before, but also because you are more aware of what you are feeling. While this sounds like a downfall, there are added benefits, like also recognizing fetal movements from your baby about a month earlier as well.

Your prenatal care will be similar to the care that you receive in your first pregnancy. Each pregnancy is unique and requires the same level of care. This means that you will need to go for your prenatal check-ups at the same frequency you did with your previous pregnancy. You will have the same basic screenings that you had in your first pregnancy. Though sometimes there is a need for increased monitoring in a second pregnancy because of things that happened in the first pregnancy. An example would be if you developed gestational diabetes in a first pregnancy, you may have more monitoring in a second pregnancy.

Being a multi or multipara (means having already had a child) makes it more likely that you may also experience more frequent and possibly more painful Braxton-Hicks contractions, especially towards the end of pregnancy. While these changes may seem to be downfalls, take heart in the fact that your body knows what it is doing.

Emotional and Mental Differences in a Second Pregnancy

With your first pregnancy, you probably spent a lot of mental and emotional energy on your pregnancy. Now that you have other children to take care of you may feel emotionally distant from this pregnancy. This is a normal reaction and is by no means an indication that you will love this baby any less. Your partner will also probably be less interested in this pregnancy.

Mothers might also worry about there being enough love for another child. How in the world could anyone ever live up to the wonder of your first born? Well, remember this baby is a different child and will have unique talents and characteristics of his or her own. Your love isn't a finite number, it is a never ending supply of emotions. So take your time. You may have to take time to fall in love with your newborn, but that can be common even with first babies.

Thoughts About a Second Labor and Birth

I often joke that first-time mothers worry about birth because they don't know what to expect, but that second-time mothers worry because they do know what to expect.

Anxiety about your upcoming birth can be very normal. Despite the fact that you have done it before, it is normal to question what it will be like this time. That might include trying to avoid some of the things that happened before, or to make sure that it goes very much like the first one.

One thing that I suggest to help increase emotional involvement and attachment is to attend another series of childbirth classes. Many second time mothers may be anxious about labor and birth because of what they know. You would be surprised what you will hear in class the second time around. A lot of my second timers say that they actually learned more because they were open to more possibilities, knowing that labor wasn't a predictable course. This also gives you a chance to spend time with your partner and focus on this pregnancy.

So, enjoy this pregnancy and try to "sleep when the baby sleeps." Even if the "baby" is 3 or 4 years old!

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