This isn’t my first pregnancy – what will be different?
Dig out the teeny tiny booties and strap the capsule back into the car: you’re expecting, again! Congrats on baby number 2 (or 3, 4, or 5).
While you may have been there, done that, and have the stretch marks to prove it, there are some common ways that successive pregnancies can differ from the first. So what does your body have in store for you this time around?
Show earlier and bigger
Did it take a while to “pop” with your first baby? Take it from Emily: you might show a bigger bump earlier – and get bigger in general – with any successive pregnancy. This is because stomach muscles and tissue are stretched with your first baby, so it doesn’t take as much pressure for your growing uterus to push out. It’s also common for a second child to be bigger than the first.
Experience more intense Braxton Hicks (false labour)
Reminder: Braxton Hicks are false labour pains where your uterus contracts and relaxes – most often felt in the second or third trimester. Because your uterine muscles have stretched with your first pregnancy, these contractions may come sooner, and feel more noticeable or intense. With a little experience under your stretchy waistband, you’re also more likely to realise what they are.
Feel your baby moving earlier
As an experienced mama, you’re more familiar with the way pregnancy feels. So while a successive baby may not necessarily be active earlier than your first, you may feel it kicking or moving earlier than before.
It's common to show bigger (and earlier) during your next pregnancy – just ask Emily!
Be more exhausted
If you carried your first pregnancy to term, that probably means you have a child to take care of on top of everything else this time around. This can be stressful. You’re probably running on less sleep. You have more responsibilities. Go easy on yourself and remember to lean on your support network.
Experience more intense incontinence
Remember how those stretched uterine muscles are likely to make you ‘pop’ earlier? A bigger bump means more pressure on your bladder, which unfortunately can make incontinence (urine leakage) more likely. Incontinence during pregnancy is normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but it can be frustrating. Remember that strengthening your pelvic floor with Kegels can help to prevent and control urinary incontinence.
Feel less anxious
Want the good news? You’ve done this before, mama! While the differences we’ve talked about above may throw you a little, you largely know what to expect with a successive pregnancy. You’re also likely to be more prepared – having basics like a crib, capsule or newborn clothing already in place. And the unknowns of a first pregnancy – like labour or breastfeeding – aren’t so mysterious anymore. Hopefully this all adds up to you feeling less anxious. Take it all in your stride (or your waddle!) and enjoy the amazing things your body is capable of.
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