You may be a maternity maven, but pregnancy the second time around may come as a surprise in more ways than one. From showing sooner to experiencing fewer early pregnancy symptoms, dealing with more fatigue to enduring shorter labor (hurrah!), here’s what to expect when you’re expecting your second bundle of joy.
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During your second pregnancy, your body’s already attuned to the symptoms associated with a pint-sized passenger in your belly. In turn, it may take to pregnancy sooner and present less pronounced symptoms. Hallelujah to milder cravings, less morning sickness and slower physical changes. Also, since you’ve already trodden this path once before, you may have greater peace of mind knowing you’ve aced it the first time around.
Okay, so that last point about milder symptoms? It doesn’t always equate to energy levels. Quite the contrary. As a seasoned supermom, it’s likely that you’ve got your hands full with school runs, juice spills and impromptu renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And so, unlike your first pregnancy, you might find itmore than a little difficult to put your feet up and give your body the rest it needs.
Nothing can make you ‘feel’ more pregnant than a blooming belly. And because your abdominal and uterine muscles have already expanded with pregnancy before, they’re more flexible than last time, allowing you to show sooner.
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Given that your uterine muscles have pulled heavy duty once before, they’re laxer than they used to be, giving your belly a low-hanging look. A droopy belly is also a possibility if your second baby weighs heavier than your first.
Those whirry, fluttery movements you mistook for gas during your last pregnancy? Well, you know now that it wasn't really winding, but your baby bobbing up and down in your belly. With this second pregnancy, you’re already well-versed with belly movements, and you’ll likely sense your baby dancing away much sooner than last time.
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Braxton Hicks contractions can be a sign that your body is gearing up for labor. Only this time, you might find your contractions more exaggerated than the last time around. This is nothing to worry about, but it’s wise to be in tune with your body to avoid panicking and reaching for the car keys the moment you experience them.
Hurrah to that! As a second-time mom, you might experience shorter labor than last time, for several reasons. Firstly, the second stage of labor tends to be much shorter for second-timers – almost two to three hours less than first-time moms. Also, since the cervix is softer from your last pregnancy, pushing your baby out might be quicker this time around too, because dilation and effacement are likely to happen in a wink.
You’ve been there, birthed that. So naturally, breastfeeding will be easier the second time around. But this theory isn’t just rooted inexperience. It also derives from the fact that your body is better prepared to lactate, with your mammary glands morphing into a form more quickly than before.
If you’ve just embarked on your second trip down pregnancy lane, you might want to stay primed on the differences you’ll feel this time around. It’s okay to feel symptoms differently. After all, every pregnancy is unique. Embrace them in their entirety and take heart in knowing that they’re just the prelude to an amazing ending.
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