Wondering whether a second pregnancy means different symptoms or more of the same? Some distinct things like a visible baby bump and baby movements may crop up earlier while others like morning sickness can strike or skip you like before. Second-time moms tend to experience more aches and pains earlier on. Fatigue and emotional ups and downs are going to be a part of this pregnancy too. But on the upside, most second-time moms are mentally better prepared for what is to come, so take heart!
Pregnancy can be a wonderfully emotional time but also one that’s peppered with changes to your body. And what if you are up for baby number two anytime soon? For many women, having a baby the second time around can be a different experience when compared to their first pregnancy. Some say they see earlier pregnancy symptoms with the second pregnancy. Others say labor is easier with subsequent births. If you’re expecting another addition to your family, here’s what you should be prepared for.
Many women will tell you to expect some very early signs when it comes to a second pregnancy. And one that seems to crop up often is the baby bump. Because you’ve already had one baby, your abdominal muscles tend to be weaker from the last pregnancy. This could cause your baby bump to “show” earlier than with baby number one. Another reason is that your uterus may not have shrunk completely back to its original size after the first child. So you may see a baby bump appear more visibly – say, an average of a month earlier – than with the first baby. So, while the baby bump might have made an appearance only by week 18 in your first pregnancy, you may see one as early as 14 weeks this time around.
As the American Pregnancy Association explains, a baby’s movements are usually detected by first-time moms around 18 to 20 weeks. However, with more experience, second-time moms can feel the movements earlier because they have learned to differentiate between a real baby movement and … gas! Some women feel movements as early as 13 weeks into the second pregnancy.
Another of the early signs of your second pregnancy, as with the first, is morning sickness. Hormonal changes in the body cause this nausea typically after the first month. For most women, this nausea and vomiting go away around weeks 16 to 20. According to the National Health Service, UK, as many as half of all pregnant women have vomiting as a problem in the first trimester. And an estimated 80 percent feel some form of nausea.
The pattern of your morning sickness won’t necessarily be the same as in your pregnancy. If you didn’t experience any morning sickness with your first pregnancy, it doesn’t mean your second will be nausea-free. On the other side, even if you did have a problem with morning sickness with baby number one, you may get lucky this time around. However, do know that your risk of having the problem is higher if you had nausea and vomiting with the first pregnancy.
Also, those who experienced a very severe form of morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum in their first pregnancy have a significantly higher risk of developing the problem in their second pregnancy. While women who have not had the problem before have just 0.7 percent risk of developing hyperemesis gravidarum, those who’ve had it before have a 15.2 percent risk in their second pregnancy.
Second-time moms may notice that you seem to carry the baby lower in the abdomen this time around. This happens because your stretched-out abdominal muscles are weaker this time around, making it tougher to hold your baby up higher. The good news for you is that there’s less pressure and crowding on your lungs and you may be able to breathe better than with your first baby. Some women even find eating less of a problem since the stomach is squeezed less. Now to the downside – because the baby is lower early on, it puts pressure on your bladder, making you want to pee more often.
Feeling very tired or exhausted is an early symptom of a baby on board. This happens because blood pressure and sugar levels dip as your body makes more blood to supply to your growing baby. In addition, hormones like progesterone rise and make you feel more sleepy than normal. During your second pregnancy, you are also older and have the additional responsibility of caring for your first child and that can sap your energy levels.
Knowing you are pregnant can be quite an emotional experience. Especially if the second baby was unplanned. Even if you did plan baby number two, you might have mixed emotions, worries, and fears of an altogether different nature. Sibling equations and concerns around how your first child will deal with the new addition may worry some moms. Fears or concerns around difficult first pregnancies can also make you nervous. But, on the other hand, knowing what you are going to experience takes some uncertainty out of the picture. You may feel like a bit of a pro when you encounter the first-timers at the maternity ward!
Pregnancy symptoms like aching joints in your pelvis can appear sooner in the second pregnancy. Back pain can also rear its head early on. Some women may find varicose veins or hemorrhoids are a problem before the third trimester. That’s because your first pregnancy may have caused the blood vessel walls as well as your musculoskeletal system to weaken. So, the second baby stresses these already weakened systems earlier.
If someone has also pointed out that second pregnancy symptoms like cramps occur earlier, they’re right. You are likely to experience more “fake contractions,” also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, during your third trimester. This is because your experienced uterus is more adept at having these false or “practice” contractions this time around.
Some unpleasant symptoms from your first pregnancy may rear their head again. Women who’ve had issues like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia should be careful with their second pregnancy as well because they could be more at risk of developing the problem than other women. For instance, those who had gestational diabetes mellitus in their first pregnancy have a 41.3 percent risk of having the problem in their second pregnancy. For everyone else, the risk is just 4.2 percent with their second pregnancy.
The good news, though, is that you will be better equipped to spot symptoms of a problem, having gone through it before. You can then work with your doctor to get the support you need through your pregnancy.