When you hear the good news that you're pregnant with your second or third child, you might be inclined to think, been there, done that. However, there are often distinct differences between second or subsequent pregnancies. Jennifer Swoboda, MD, obstetrician/gynecologist at AdventHealth, shares her insight on how successive pregnancies differ from the first time around.
Sure, you're tired with a little one around and one on the way. Many second-time moms report fatigue as an issue. With the first pregnancy, perhaps they were able to come home from work and grab a nap, Dr. Swoboda says. With a second pregnancy, there's often a child waiting for dinner, bath, story time and bedtime. Rest is essential, but not as easy to come by.
It's Show Time
Most second time moms show much earlier and are often surprised that they need to transition into maternity clothes sooner.
The rectus muscles aren't quite as rigid after going through pregnancy and seem to relax earlier, and that results in mom showing earlier. On the plus side, most second labors are faster, easier and less likely to have stitches or lacerations, explains Dr. Swoboda.
Minor Aches and Pains
Increased discomfort is a complaint Dr. Swoboda hears frequently from repeat moms.
One consistent report is more pelvic pressure during the second pregnancy, she says. Perhaps the relaxed pelvic and rectus muscles allow the baby to settle into the pelvis earlier, adding to moms discomfort. However, moms don't need to worry about this creating any preterm labor or early delivery.
Another consideration is when to tell your children that a baby is on the way.
Telling siblings or soon-to-be siblings is very age dependent. Kids ages four years and older appreciate being an active part of the process. Show them pictures and let them come with you to a doctors visit to hear the heartbeat, Dr. Swoboda advises. Ages three and under may not really understand an infant until they can see them after delivery. I once had a three year old meet his new baby brother and react by stamping his foot and saying, But, I wanted a puppy!
The pressures of managing a home, children and a pregnancy (and sometimes work outside the home) can feel overwhelming. Today's mommies can benefit by taking a step back and simplifying, Dr. Swoboda suggests.
Give yourself permission to relax some of your normal standards, she says. Preparing simple meals, not worrying about small messes and getting extra rest help you enjoy your child at home, reduce stress and appreciate your current pregnancy.