There’s nothing more fulfilling than motherhood, and it is just as wonderful the second time around. Having already become a mum, you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect, but you might not be prepared for the differences in this pregnancy, or how much less time you have to focus on you, and the new life forming inside, when you have a toddler in tow.
No two pregnancies are identical
The one thing all second-time mums should bear in mind from the outset is that no two pregnancies are the same. Don’t skip antenatal appointments, thinking you’ve done it all before, it’s important to check there are no unexpected complications, even if everything went smoothly first-time round.
Many first-time mums keep a baby journal to document their pregnancy. If you did that, why not look back, reminisce and compare how your body changes this time round. We recommend keeping a second baby journal, too. It’ll be harder, as you’ll have less time to yourself, but we think the changes you notice this time will make it worth it!
One of the first things you’ll notice in your second pregnancy is that your bump will develop sooner. This is usually because your stomach muscles have already been subjected to some serious stretching first time around.
There are five significant differences you should be aware of when comparing your first and second pregnancies:
- Your knowledge of pregnancy
- Speedier baby delivery
- Planning for baby number two
- 2nd pregnancy symptoms
- Stretch marks
Let's get to them in more detail.
Your knowledge of pregnancy
The first time you were pregnant, you were probably nervous, anxious, and confused about what to expect. Now that you've been there and done that, you'll have a pretty good idea of the ins-and-outs of pregnancy. This usually makes you much more relaxed second time round, which has to be a good thing. Your body is already under stress as it copes with increased heart rate and blood volume. And then there’s also the additional stress on your ligaments and bones, as you gain weight and your bump grows. There’s evidence that stress can cause low birth rate and premature birth, so staying relaxed throughout your pregnancy will really benefit your baby as well as you.
Speedier baby delivery
The next difference with having a second child is speedier delivery. Typically, most second-time pregnant women have a much quicker labour and delivery.
This is because your outer uterine muscles have already been stretched. You might have more "Braxton Hicks" contractions too. And, sometimes contractions might last longer. This happens because your uterine muscle tone will lessen with each birth.
Planning for baby number two
If you’re naturally a worrier, even the knowledge that you’ve gone through pregnancy and birth before, won’t stop you being anxious now. And the thought of two little ones to deal with, especially if your firstborn is less than three years old, can make planning ahead challenging. But, don’t worry, knowledge is on your side.
Just remember that while every baby is different, you'll know the basics that usually make the first few days of motherhood so nerve-wracking. You should find it much easier to adapt to a having new member in the family with your second child,
Apart from all the practical things, like where your second child will sleep, stocking up on new nappies, clothes and maybe even a double buggy, planning will be a lot easier this time round. One thing you might want to do is ask friends and family if they'll give you some tips for how to handle a growing family.
You'll also want to prep as much as you can. If you have time why not try to make a few meals for the rest of the family and freeze them, or arrange a babysitter for the days you'll be at the hospital.
You can also plan ahead by asking friends or family to book in a regular slot to take out your older child now and again once your baby is born. This will give you much needed one-to-one time with your newborn and also give your first child the attention they’ll need in those first few months when adjusting to sharing your attention with their sibling.
2nd pregnancy symptoms
You should also be aware that your symptoms might not be the same in your second pregnancy.
You baby bump will get larger, faster because your stomach muscles have already stretched. So you'll probably be showing sooner when you're having a second baby.
Many mums report that they feel the baby move or kick earlier in second pregnancies. Even if it happens at the same time, you'll probably recognise the feeling quicker.
You may experience morning sickness, even though you didn’t when you were pregnant the first time. If you did have it first time around, it is more likely to happen with a repeat pregnancy however.
You are also going to feel more tired. You're body will feel exhausted from the changes, especially on top of taking care of another child. It's more important than ever to take some time for yourself.
Chances are, you'll be concerned about stretch marks during your second pregnancy. If you had them the first time around, you might be worried about getting more. And if you didn't, you might be scared about getting them now. That's where Secret Saviours comes in.
Secret Saviours' clever three-step system can help prevent stretch marks. Consisting of a nourishing Day Gel, soothing Night Cream, and an award-winning Bump Band, our Stretch Mark Prevention Kit is your best insurance against stretch marks, with 80% of mums using the kit coming out of pregnancy stretch mark free. The unique pads printed with Dermal Support Technology™ diffuse skin tension, block stretch marks and provide under bump and back support.
Secret Saviours can be used during any pregnancy. Even if you didn't use it first time round, you can still follow our daily 3-step routine to help prevent any future stretch marks from forming.
The biggest difference between first and second pregnancy
The biggest difference between pregnancy number one and two, however, is having your first child along for the ride.
This is a special time for the whole family. Make sure to involve your first child in all the special events and make it as an exciting time for them as it is for you.
First and foremost, you need to break the news. You don't need to go into massive detail, but we recommend that you tell them what the gender is and when their sibling will come.
Another thing we suggest is showing them their own baby book and journal. Share with them what it was like when you were pregnant with them by showing your firstborn pictures, videos, and other keepsakes.
You'll also want to plan special days just for them. The last thing you want is for your firstborn to feel jealous of baby number two. Take them out on a special adventure, or a small vacation. Even small things like making the odd alteration to their bedroom like getting them a big kid bed, or watching their favourite movie can help ease any tension they might be feeling. It's important for your first child to have special mummy time, too.
Last but not least, involve them in the baby planning. Let them pick out a colour or decoration for the nursery, bring them to the baby shower, and let them bond with your bump, too.
Motherhood is a truly wonderful and memorable time and the second time you experience it will be every bit as rewarding as the first. It might seem just as scary, but soon you’ll develop a new normal for you, your partner, and your firstborn.