Second Pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms, Complications & More

Pregnant Again? What to Expect During Your Second Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

If your first pregnancy was smooth, you’re probably more relaxed knowing that you are expecting for the second time. However, it is important to remember that every pregnancy is unique and brings its own sets of joys and difficulties.

Early Signs & Symptoms of a Second Pregnancy

Most signs and symptoms of a second pregnancy will be similar to your first one except the speed with which the baby bump becomes visible. There is no hard and fast rule about whether the symptoms will be more or less intense during this time. For a few women, some of the unpleasant symptoms and complications from the first pregnancy may reappear.

How Will Your Second Pregnancy Differ From the First Pregnancy?

Here are some ways in which your second pregnancy may be different from the first one:

1.You Will Show Sooner This Time

During your second pregnancy, the baby bump will become visible sooner than that it did during the first pregnancy. One of the reasons for this is that your abdominal muscles are weaker from your last pregnancy. As a result, it will not take time for your baby bump to show.

2. Morning Sickness and Tiredness

Most women may feel more exhausted during their second pregnancy than they did in their first one. One reason could be that they are unable to rest well during the second pregnancy as they are already caring for one child.

Nausea accompanied by vomiting or dizziness is one of the common symptoms of pregnancies in general, but the pattern of morning sickness may not be the same.

3. Aches and Pains

Pregnancy symptoms of pain in the pelvic joints along with back pain develop earlier in the second pregnancy. Some women may also face problems with varicose veins or haemorrhoids. These mainly occur because of the weakening of the blood vessels and muscles.

4. Weight Gain

Weight gain during second pregnancy is different from the first one. In your second pregnancy, since your body has already undergone a lot of changes, weight gain is faster and is also difficult to lose.

5. Mood Swings

Due to stress and hormonal changes, you are likely to experience heightened emotions irrespective of whether it is your first pregnancy or second. These changes affect different women differently. The usual pattern is that you experience mood swings during early pregnancy. These mood swings then cease and reappear as the due date approaches. These sudden changes in mood could be related to joy, anticipation, worrying about finances, and so on.

6. Pregnancy Tests

You may not even need a second pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy the second time around, because you will already have recognised the signs and symptoms and start showing sooner.

7. Kicks and Braxton Hicks Contractions

A veteran mom may start to feel the baby’s kicks earlier by a few weeks than she did in her first pregnancy, simply because she is familiar with this sensation. Braxton Hicks contractions may also be experienced earlier. Post-birth contractions also may last longer.

8. Postpartum Depression

If you have been through postpartum depression in one pregnancy, you will be at a higher risk of depression in the second one as well. Those women who have had bipolar depression postpartum during their first pregnancy have a very high chance of falling prey to depression again.

9. Labour

Labour is shorter in the second pregnancy since your body has already undergone the process once. Your cervix has most likely weakened, making it easy to dilate and efface. For women who have already had a baby earlier, the labour will last for an average of five hours and not more than twelve hours.

10. Pushing

The pushing stage is also likely to last less than two hours as compared to three hours the first time.

What About Other Pregnancy Symptoms?

Here is a quick look at some other pregnancy symptoms during the second pregnancy.

1. Early Baby Movements

Usually, baby movements are felt between week 18 and 20. However, in the second pregnancy, you will be experienced enough to feel the movements earlier.

2. Tenderness of Breasts

One of the early signs of pregnancy is breast tenderness. They will become sensitive to touch and will be painful at times. The area around the nipples (areola) will also become darker.

3. Carrying the Baby Low

The abdominal muscles get stretched during the first pregnancy, thus becoming weaker than before. As a result, they are unable to support the baby as they did before. This is the reason why the foetus drops lower in the abdomen during the second pregnancy.

4. Different Concerns

Issues like gestational diabetes have a higher chance of repeating themselves during the second pregnancy.

What About Complications?

Your second pregnancy may or may not cause complications. However, it is always better to take precautions and meet your doctor.

The probability of complications like the risk of placental or postpartum haemorrhage keeps increasing with every pregnancy. It is not proven statistically in any way that these conditions happen in the second pregnancy, but it is more likely that these conditions will occur in a woman who has had multiple pregnancies.

Postpartum haemorrhage can be life-threatening if proper care is not taken. Hence, it is essential that you consult a doctor immediately if you are experiencing unusual amounts of bleeding, or are uncomfortable or apprehensive about any of the symptoms.

Second Pregnancy After Caesarean

For women who have delivered their first baby via c-section, it is safer to deliver the second baby also via c-section instead of attempting a vaginal birth.

However, a proper gap between the two pregnancies is important. Consulting a doctor and understanding the importance of the gap that is recommended by doctors is advisable. A medically recommended gap before conceiving after a c-section is a minimum of three years, which will allow the body to heal completely.

Coping With Your Older Child When Pregnant for the Second Time

If you are expecting your second baby, you may already have been wondering how this is going to affect your older child and how will you be able to cope with caring for both your babies.

As a start, you should tell your baby that a new one is growing inside you, and try to involve the child in the process. Encourage your older child to pat your tummy and talk or sing to it. You may want to take your elder child to one of your doctor’s appointments and let him listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Keep mentioning your new baby’s arrival frequently, but avoid going overboard to avoid any possibility of jealousy.

Second Pregnancy

Here are some other ways you can prepare your first child for a sibling:

  1. Look at storybooks that have a picture of a new baby and familiarise your child with it. Say words like ‘brother’, ‘sister’ and make your child say it as well.
  2. Constantly assure your first child that he is loved. Pay attention to his needs and communicate your appreciation for him.
  3. Paint a happy picture of all the adventures your first child will have with a new partner. Make plans about what the two of them will do, and take your child’s inputs on what he would like to do with a new ‘partner-in-crime’.
  4. Gradually prepare him for your visit to the hospital so that he doesn’t end up confused when you go into labour.

Should You Stop Breastfeeding During Your Second Pregnancy?

You can continue to breastfeed while you are pregnant. After delivery, you can breastfeed both babies. Breastfeeding is fine if you and the baby are healthy.

How Will Your After-delivery Recovery Be Different?

  • In your second delivery, you will know exactly what to expect and how to deal with the changes.
  • Labour will be probably faster during the second delivery.
  • Not all the things that happened in your first delivery will happen in the second one.
  • You will know exactly how the contractions would progress and end.

How Can You Prepare For Your Next Baby?

  • Arrange for someone to take care of your elder one.
  • Keep everything you would need for storage.
  • Wash things which have been stored for a long time.
  • Pack a bag for your elder one.
  • Clean and re-stock the diaper bag.

Many women claim that their entire pregnancy has gone by much faster the second time around. If you are pregnant for the second time, don’t worry too much about the process – your baby will be in your arms before you know it!

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