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7 Ways Your Second Pregnancy Is Different Than the First

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Jessica is the mom to a baby boy, and is soon to have two kids under two!

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Pregnancy is such an exciting time, and it can be even more so when you are expecting baby number two! After going through pregnancy and childbirth once you might think you know what to expect, but there are some surprising differences between first and second pregnancies. There may be several physical and emotional differences between the two. Keep reading to learn more about how second pregnancies are different than the first.

1. You Show Sooner

You may find yourself showing sooner with your second than with your fist, especially if you have them close together. With my second I was already showing at 10 weeks! One reason for this is that your abdominal muscles and ligaments are already stretched from your first pregnancy. Another reason is that the uterus is already larger than it was with the first, it never goes back to its original size. Your body remembers what it is doing, and it starts making room more quickly!

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2. More Braxton Hicks

Some women notice more Braxton Hicks contractions with their second pregnancy. Braxton Hicks are also called "false labor." Braxton Hicks contractions happen when your uterus tightens from 30-60 seconds. This can feel like your uterus is flexing or tightening, and it may feel slightly like cramps. Unlike real contractions, these are random and they do not get stronger or longer. This is the uterus "flexing its muscles" to get ready for labor.

One reason you may notice Braxton Hicks more with your second pregnancy is that you have experienced them before. With the first, it is hard to know what to expect, but with the second it is easier to tell what is happening. Another reason is that your uterus is already stretched. Your body is prepared this time!

3. You Might Prepare Differently

With my first baby, I spent hours building the perfect baby registry, decorating his nursery, and researching all the best and safest baby products. I watched so many baby care and birth classes, and I took my car seat to the fire station to make sure it was properly installed in my car. My pregnancy was my #1 focus for nine months. With my second pregnancy, I am just as excited, but I am definitely preparing differently.

With the second pregnancy, you may find yourself focusing on different things. Instead of focusing on buying everything, you may be thinking, "which things can we use again?" You may worry more about how your first is going to adjust, and you may not have as much time to worry at all because chasing a toddler around takes a lot of energy!

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4. More Back Pain

Many women experience more back pain with each pregnancy. This goes back to the loss of abdominal muscle tone. Having less support in your core makes your back hurt more. This is especially true if you have two pregnancies very close together since your body hasn't had as much time to heal. Some things that can help ease this back pain are belly support bands, stretching, sleeping with back support, ice packs, and seeing a chiropractor.

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One thing I use to help back pain and exhaustion is a pregnancy pillow. A pillow with a shape that supports both your belly and back can help you get some sleep

5. Exhaustion

Pregnancy exhaustion is no joke. The hormone progesterone helps prepare your uterus for implantation and your growing baby, but one of the side effects is fatigue. This happens with any pregnancy, but it may hit you a little harder with your second. When you already have a child at home it is much harder to find an opportunity to rest, and at the end of the day, you may feel exhausted.

Some things you can do to combat this are napping when your toddler naps, making sure to drink plenty of water, and getting some light exercise during the day.

6. You Might Feel Movement Earlier

It is common to feel movement earlier in the second pregnancy than with the first. One reason is now you know what to look for. In the first pregnancy, it can be hard to know what you are feeling, but once you have a little experience it is easier to tell what is the baby and what is not. Another reason is that your uterus has already been stretched, so it is a little easier to feel the kicks.

It is common to feel movement at about 20 weeks with the first, and with the second it is common to feel movement anywhere from 16-20 weeks. Remember that every pregnancy is different, and this might not be true for every woman.

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7. You May Have a Faster Labor

Labor is often quicker with second pregnancies. The contractions are likely to get stronger and closer together more quickly, and the pushing time is usually quicker too. The abdominal and uterus muscles being more relaxed may cause things to go faster. Having experience pushing can also help women push for less time. Of course, this is not certain, but statistically second labors are shorter than the first!

Further Reading

Everything you need to know about your second pregnancy

Low Back Pain During Second Pregnancy

Second baby: will I have a different birth experience? Your questions answered

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Jess H

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