If you think you’ve been there and done it before, think again, as your second pregnancy may just surprise you
So, here it is – your second pregnancy. Will your body feel different? Will it be easier as you know what to expect? Or will it be harder second time around as you have another child to take care of as well as yourself? The truth is that each pregnancy is unique and your second (or third, or fourth…) pregnancy could vary wildly from your first.
Once you get over the excitement (or shock) of discovering you’re pregnant again, you might start to feel exhausted pretty quickly. The tiredness you felt first time around is unlikely to be a patch on how you’re feeling now you have someone else to look after as well as raging hormones to contend with. If you don’t want to tell everyone your news until after the first scan, be ready with an excuse for needing to put your feet up more than usual. You might also find it harder to conceal your pregnancy in those early days – you tend to get bigger quicker as your body has already been ‘pre-stretched’ so if you’re not ready to tell, invest in some flowing tops to hide your growing bump.
If you were lucky enough to escape morning sickness with pregnancy number one, unfortunately it doesn’t mean you’ll be immune this time. It might come as a nasty surprise especially as it can occur at any time of the day.
If you are feeling tired and nauseous try to find time to rest – your older child’s nap time if they still have one or opt for a few early nights to conserve your energy. Call on your support network for help.
Now you’ve got a bit of energy back and you’ve had your initial scan, your mind might turn to the birth – especially if you had a difficult experience first time around. It’s a good idea to talk about any concerns you have with a midwife as they’ll be able to answer any questions and put your mind at rest. And if you have to take your toddler along to antenatal appointments make sure you pack plenty of snacks and things for them to do in case you have a long wait. Or see if friends or relatives can help out by babysitting for a few hours while you nip off – luckily if you are low risk, you’ll have fewer appointments second time around.
One of the nice things about a second pregnancy is you’re likely to feel kicking and movement earlier on as you will know what to look out for. You may feel those early flutterings at around 14 or 15 weeks – what you dismissed as wind during your first pregnancy you might recognise as early movements this time around.
As you head into the final phase you’re likely to feel increasingly uncomfortable and tired. Aches and pains can be worse second time around as you’re having to bend over to pick up toys as well as lifting your toddler up. Try to get your little one to start helping with the tidying up by making it a fun game and opt for snuggles on the sofa rather than pick-up cuddles.
You may also start to feel a bit anxious about how you’re going to cope with two children. Take your mind off things by focusing on more practical issues. Get ready for the new arrival by batch cooking some wholesome meals you can pop in the freezer ready for those tiring first few weeks after the birth. It’s also a great time to work out what baby equipment you need and get your old nursery furniture out of storage. If you’re moving your little one out of a cot to make way for the newborn, try to do the transition a few weeks before your due date so they can get used to their new bed. And don’t forget to have someone on call for when you go in to labour – it could happen any time and you’ll need to make sure your first born can be looked after whatever the time of day. Finally use your last few weeks to spend some quality time with your child – soon you won’t be able to give them all your attention so it’s a good idea to try to let them know how special they are to you.
Wondering how your child will cope with a new baby around? Check out our feature on teaching little ones to share