Pregnant Again – What to Expect in Second Pregnancy

Second Baby Pregnancy – Know the Signs and Symptoms

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

A second pregnancy is an interesting time in one’s life. You have experienced and cherished the first one, and you wonder how this would be as you get ready to welcome your second child.

The fact is that your second pregnancy can be exactly similar to the first one, and perhaps be very different from it as well. No one can ascertain that! However, in most cases, some indicators tend to be more intense during the second baby pregnancy as compared to the first one. The early signs of pregnancy are however the same as they were the first time and you can look out for them to confirm your pregnancy.

Video : Second Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms – What’s Different? 

Early Signs of Second-time Pregnancy

While most signs of your second pregnancy are likely to be similar to your first one, you may be able to observe some minor differences.

1. Gain in weight

Most women do not gain weight in the first few weeks of getting pregnant. However, you may find the mid-section becoming a little thicker. This thickening can happen earlier than it had happened during your first pregnancy. This is because the muscle in the abdomen has already been stretched and it becomes easier for the muscles to relax when you get pregnant.

2. Pregnancy belly

You may observe that your pregnancy belly has pooched out a little earlier this time. This is not because your baby is growing faster but because of your ab-muscles that have loosened up after your first pregnancy. You’ll probably look bigger sooner because your rectus abdominal muscle has already been stretched out during your first pregnancy. According to The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to Pregnancy, your body works like a balloon which is easier to blow up the second time. On the high side, even though many second-time moms feel bigger earlier on, the growth tends to level out as the pregnancy progresses.

What Are the Symptoms of a Second Pregnancy?

Some symptoms of the second pregnancy may differ from what you experienced during your first pregnancy. Here’s a list of second pregnancy symptoms different from the first –

1. More Aches and Pain

If you had suffered from back pain in your first pregnancy, then you may tend to have severe back pain during your second pregnancy. This happens if your abdominal muscles are still not back in shape. The hormone “relaxin” (which typically increases in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, then decreases to a plateau around 24 weeks) is said to be a lot more effective during second pregnancies. The second reason for this could be that the baby might be lying in the lower abdomen due to prior stretching. This usually heals after the delivery.

2. Severe Varicose Veins or Haemorrhoids

These symptoms are likely to show in your first pregnancy, and if they did, then it is unfortunate as this time it can be more severe and can show up sooner too. Making sure that you avoid constipation is the best way to prevent haemorrhoids. Some simple tips to avoid constipation are: eat fibre-rich fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water, don’t delay when you feel the urge to use the bathroom and avoid standing or sitting for long periods.

3. Increased Pelvic Pain and Pressure

This might not be the case with everyone but some women during a second pregnancy might feel more pelvic pain in comparison to their first pregnancy. Just think of the proverb “no pain, no gain” and bear the pain for the new life that you are carrying inside.

4. You are Mentally Prepared to Meet the Baby

Now that you have tasted the bliss of mothering a child, you will be more prepared mentally to have a second baby. This is another sign that expresses your readiness.

Here’s a rundown of the early second pregnancy symptoms week 1 through week 4-

  • A sudden increase in appetite as you are eating to feed both the baby and you.
  • Minor cramps
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Increase in thirst
  • abdominal or pelvic pain with the lower back pains which is more than usual
  • mood swings
  • the occurrence of pimples and acne
  • noticeable bloating
  • a major increase in appetite
  • joint soreness, swollen breasts and severe headaches
  • Larger and darker areolae
  • Tenderness in breasts and painful sensation
  • Major mood swings observed and extremely sensitive emotions
  • Increase in the visibility of blue veins in breasts (significantly brighter)
  • Slightly harder stomach
  • Contractions in the pelvic area
  • Random dizziness
  • Forgetfulness (can get worse)
  • A rise in body temperature
  • Accidentally dropping things and difficulty in speaking
  • Diarrhoea

Differences Between First Pregnancy and Second Pregnancy

Here is the comparison that tells you how some symptoms may differ over two pregnancies. Note that these differences are only indicative. You may or may not have these differences.

Symptom First Pregnancy Second pregnancy
Belly Growth Grows slowly The belly grows faster because the uterus has already got accustomed to the first pregnancy. It starts growing rapidly as soon as you get pregnant. The ab-muscles were tighter the first time, but they are loose now and cannot hold efficiently.
Contractions Lesser contractions There may be a rise in the Braxton-Hicks contractions, both in terms of interval and strength. Braxton-hicks contractions are intermittent uterine contractions. Since your uterine walls are already stretched out after your first pregnancy, you may tend to feel the contractions more. Since you have experienced these before, you may also be able to notice contractions much sooner this time.
Pelvic pain and pressure Lesser pain Most women experience more pelvic pain in the second pregnancy. There is also more pressure on the lower back. If you had lower back pain in your first pregnancy, be prepared to have more severe pain this time. If your abdominal muscles are not back to shape after your first pregnancy, you are likely to experience back pain.
Labour Do not know beforehand when you will go into labour You will not be able to know the onset of labour beforehand, but the cervix will dilate a little more in your second pregnancy. Labour is also likely to be much quicker than the previous time. The pushing stage is also likely to be easier, and you may also have fewer stitches than the last time.
Postpartum recovery Postpartum pains are short-lived and very mild. This is because the uterine muscles are better toned when you get pregnant the first time. As a result, uterine muscles could stay contracted. More intense postpartum pains. This is caused because of the uterus contracting as it shrinks to the pre-pregnancy size. The pains can get very uncomfortable. The uterine muscle tone is weaker, and it intermittently relaxes and contracts.

Complications in the Second Pregnancy

If you had a healthy first pregnancy with no complications, the chances are that your second pregnancy would also be smooth.

However, if you had complications like preeclampsia, placental abruption, preterm labour and birth or postpartum haemorrhage in your first pregnancy, there is a high risk that you may have these complications again. If you are obese, diabetic or suffering from high blood pressure, it could also lead to complications in your second pregnancy.

Your medical history is important because it tends to influence the risk in your second delivery. Let your healthcare expert know about any complications that you had before, any medication that you are on or any problem that your first baby had. If your doctor knows about your medical history in detail, he/she can manage the second pregnancy well.

How Can You Contribute Towards a Healthy Pregnancy?

Given below are certain thumb rules that you need to follow in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Yes, you would know these but just in case it’s been a while since you conceived for the first time, so here are things you must keep in mind:

  1. Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking.
  2. Avoid caffeine and products with artificial colours.
  3. Get adequate sleep to prevent frequent exhaustion.
  4. Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
  5. Include dairy products, fruits and vegetables in high amounts.
  6. Consume prenatal multivitamins supplement. But make sure to consult a doctor prior to your consumption.
  7. Practice yoga in order to remain stress-free.
  8. Timely visits to your dentist also help as certain hormonal changes during this time can lead to weaker gums.
  9. Wear comfortable clothing as tight clothing can restrict movement for both the baby and you.
  10. Sunscreens are not only for teens and youngsters. During pregnancy your skin is more prone to sunburns so, make sure to apply sunscreens of 30SPF or higher whenever you step out in the sun.
  11. Talk to your baby to begin bonding right from the pregnancy itself.
  12. Feed your cravings and pamper yourself.

How Soon Can You Get Symptoms of Second Pregnancy?

Having experienced pregnancy already, mothers are already aware of a lot of what this phase entails. This is why most moms pick up on signs that they are pregnant again pretty easily. Moreover, as your body muscles have loosened and stretched, the symptoms show up sooner than your first time.

Prenatal Tests and Visit Schedule

Your prenatal tests and visits are dependent on whether you had any complications in your first pregnancy and if you have developed any medical conditions after your first baby.

It also depends on how many years have passed since you had your first baby. If it is a long gap, there may be some different screening options.

How to Have a Better Pregnancy Experience With the Second Child?

If you faced complications during your first pregnancy, then you might wish to make some changes to try and make your second pregnancy smoother. You should have a word with your gynaecologist who can guide you through the best possible ways to help you have a better experience with your second pregnancy.

For example, if you had constipation or haemorrhoid related problems the last time, you can begin by eating plenty of fibre and take a fibre supplement in the early stages of your pregnancy. Drinking water and exercising regularly can be practised as soon as you know that you have conceived and are pregnant again with your second child.

How to Have a Better Pregnancy Experience With the Second Child?

In case you had got a lot of stretch marks the last time you were pregnant, you may be more prone to them this time as well. You can thus watch your weight during the second pregnancy. This is possible by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and keeping a check on what you eat. A healthy diet ensures that your body and baby get the required nutrition and you do not gain unnecessary weight.

The second pregnancy is as exciting a time as your first one. This time around some of your pains may be more intense. On the brighter side, you are more equipped to handle it as you have been there, done that!

Also Read: Pregnant Again – What to Expect During Second Pregnancy

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