So, you’re pregnant again, this time with a toddler in tow.
While you’re excited to expand your family, you feel a little dread… After all, you haven’t quite forgotten those pregnancy aches and pains, morning sickness and excruciating hours of labour that went hand in hand with your first pregnancy experience.
Still, not everything is going to be the same. So, it’s best to keep an open mind, and enjoy every bit of your second pregnancy. Here are some things that may surprise you.
1. You feel your baby move sooner
It probably boils down to the fact that you now know that the butterflies and bubbly feeling in your tummy wasn’t just gas. You recognise right away that it’s your baby moving. These first movements, known as the “quickening”, can be felt as early as 13 weeks in subsequent pregnancies.
2. You’ll show earlier
“People didn’t notice I was pregnant till I was 6 months along with my first pregnancy, but for this one, I feel huge by the time I was 12 weeks,” says Karen Teng, who is four months pregnant with her second child. It’s not surprising, since your body recognises earlier on that you’re “baking” a baby and has prepped itself to expand earlier. Also, your uterus didn’t shrink all the way down to its pre-baby size after your firstborn, so your body’s got a head start with this pregnancy.
3. Pregnancy symptoms
Did you experience severe morning sickness with your first baby? Hoping that this time round will be different? We’re sorry to say, it’s likely to happen again. Studies show that two-thirds of women who suffered morning sickness with their first child will do so again. The difference though is that this time round you might be so caught up chasing a toddler around that you might not notice it as much.
Your uterus didn’t shrink all the way down to its pre-baby size after your firstborn, so your body’s got a head start with this pregnancy.
4. Your tummy feels droopy
Is it your imagination, or is your pregnant belly not as perky and cute as the first time round? Well, your first pregnancy has stretched your abdominal muscles, and they may not be as strong as before. As a result, they don’t carry your baby as high up, and you may find that your urge to pee frequently starts earlier as your uterus is placing more pressure on your bladder – eek! But don’t fret, Kegel exercises and a pregnancy-support belly band can help, especially in the third trimester.
5. You are more tired
This is a fact, given that you need to keep an eye out for your little Energizer Bunny, as well as prep his meals, pack his toys, get him to preschool, chase him into the shower…yes the list goes on. Says mum of three Michelle Yeo, who is pregnant with her fourth, “With subsequent pregnancies, you also don’t bother with supplements as much ― who can remember to take them? And that makes a difference to your energy levels.”
6. Picking a name
Remember how you pored over those baby name books, and Googled “Girls names beginning with G” over and over again? Well, that’s probably not going to happen again, mostly because you simply don’t have the time. Also, if you had narrowed down the names to two choices the first time round, chances are you’ll pick the second choice for your next child.
7. You’ll feel more Braxton Hicks
Braxton Hicks are the “false contractions” that help you gear up for the big day. It feels like the tightening of your uterus, but aren’t as efficient as the real thing to push your baby out. You’ll feel more Braxton Hicks the second time round as you are better able to recognise what they are, and you’ll anticipate them earlier.
Since your cervix has previously lost some of its rigidity the second time round, you’ll tend to dilate faster.
8. You’ll wonder what you did with all that time you had
Did you spend hours doing up the nursery, shopping for baby barang and reading all those baby books during your first pregnancy? It seemed like eons ago, but you’ll wonder why you felt so busy during those days. With a tot in tow now, you barely even have time to take a shower! “Any time I have these days, I just sleep, sleep and sleep!” Teng laughs.
9. You’re less anxious
Avoid caffeine? Check. No sashimi? Check. First-time expectant mothers tend to put immense pressure on themselves to follow all the rules. With subsequent pregnancies, mums tend to cut themselves some slack, as they realise that it’s really not going to hurt if they take that one cup of coffee or tea. Says Yeo, “I remember with my eldest, I didn’t even let myself have a can of Coke ― I thought the caffeine would damage my child somehow. But with this pregnancy, I couldn’t survive without my cup of coffee every morning!”
10. Labour and delivery is shorter
One thing that second-time mums can look forward to is a shorter labour and delivery period. First deliveries take longer because you had never pushed a baby through your birth canal before and it needs time to ease into the process. Since your cervix has lost some of its rigidity after delivering your firstborn, the second time round, you’ll tend to dilate faster. Also, you’re carrying your baby lower as previously mentioned, so your body has had prior practice, having already gone through it before.
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