One of These Things is Not Like the Others: First vs. Second Pregnancy

I’ve been jabbering about pregnancy symptoms lately, and I have lovely mamas to thank you for all your questions. Never feel silly asking them, please. This is where you will find the answers to those questions that keep you up at night.

Now I wanted to discuss the second pregnancy. Some of you mamas have been coming here for information since your first baby. With baby #2 on the way, it’s only natural to have some additional questions.

Especially when you want to know what to expect.

I’ve briefly eluded to this in my other recent post, but the second time around can be much different than the first time.

Take my own experience. With my eldest, I had no idea I was pregnant until I ate something I usually despised, willingly. I put together the other clues in my head – tighter pants, bigger and sore boobs, and I took a pregnancy test.

That first trimester was rough, and I had morning sickness, mostly in the afternoons. I never threw up, but I always felt queasy beyond belief. I had to pee ALL the time too.

And I gained a ton of weight.

With my youngest, I barely felt unwell. I didn’t gain as much weight. I did still have to pee ALL the time, though. But in general, that pregnancy was easier.

I know many mamas that had an easier time during the second pregnancy. Only a few had it worse.

So, you’re gagging to know…can pregnancy symptoms differ with each pregnancy? That answer is a big YES!

What’s different in the second pregnancy?

If you’re newly pregnant with your second child, congratulations! Also, you may notice some key differences from your first pregnancy.

In general, you may find…

  • Bigger bump
pregnant woman sits down with dog on lap

Your bump will likely look bigger sooner. That’s because this isn’t the first rodeo for your stomach muscles. They’ve been stretched out before, and they’re ready to go.

  • Sooner movements

Additionally, it may be easier for you to feel that first move or kicking from your baby. Some say it’s probably because you know that feeling from the first time and are more in tune.

  • Morning sickness woes

Some of you may have been lucky during that first pregnancy by not getting morning sickness. They say you’re more likely to get it the second time if you had it for the first.

I did not have actual morning sickness during my second pregnancy. Before I learned I was pregnant, which I learned early on that one, I felt off but not nauseous like I had with my first. I actually panicked because I thought I must have cancer and was dying. Yeah, dramatic much, Leslie?

In any event, when I took the test, and it came out positive, I was relieved, surprised, and excited. However, I did not have morning sickness that second pregnancy. Friends of mine definitely felt it worse, though. My old neighbor, Fiona, could not even tolerate the smell of cut grass. Every time the lawn was mowed, she vomited much of her day in the bathroom.

  • Changes in your breasts

Your boobs will be different too. I thought it was because I’d just weaned my eldest from breastfeeding before all this. But apparently, it is something that is less noticeable the second time because your body already went through breastfeeding.

At least you still have all those maternity and breastfeeding bras, right?

  • Increased aches and pains

With the release of pregnancy hormones like relaxin, you get more back pain. I do remember this. I was not thrilled that I felt geriatric the second time around.

  • Speedier labor

I can’t comment on this personally since I had my second baby as a planned c-section. While I went into labor before the scheduled surgery date, I was prepped for surgery. So I didn’t suffer through that labor process as I did with my first.

It was dreadful.

But every friend who naturally had a baby has told me that the second labor time was much quicker and easier than the first time. So that’s good news!

  • Challenges to mental wellbeing

My doctor recommended I try a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) throughout my second pregnancy. I did not want to do this. I was terrified that I would be in labor just as long as last time and would have difficulties getting my second baby out. I decided I would rather just cut to the chase and have another c-section.

All the while, I panicked that something was going to go wrong. I was going to die, and my in-laws would get my eldest, and I’d spend hours on the phone with my dad, who would reassure me that everything was going to be okay. Spoiler alert: my dad was right, of course.

On top of anxious thoughts like that, you may struggle to figure out how you’ll have time for 2 kids. How will you love them both? That was my other struggle. Again, I’d called my dad and cried, asking him how much I’d love the new baby as my eldest daughter.

He laughed and laughed, and then he assured me that I’d know once I held that baby.

Can I just say, Dad was right again? It’s true.

Whatever mental struggle you’re having, talk about it. You may feel overwhelmed with chores and caring for your toddler now. Get help from friends and family if you can’t hire a service. Take time to yourself and replenish. Eat right. Just nurture yourself. You may forget you’re pregnant again with all you have to do.

And it’s not selfish at all to put yourself first here. Speak up, though, so everyone knows you need help with this. You’ll feel so much better when you pull yourself together again.

Getting ready for your second pregnancy

Now that you know a bit about what to expect in those symptoms, you can do some prep work to stay ahead of everything.

I recommend getting plenty of rest. I know that is hard with a toddler around. It was a blessing to have my in-laws around then because they’d keep her busy so I could get a nap.

Beautiful pregnant woman and her cute little

And since I was so tired from everything in my day, I’d fall asleep super-early, right after I put my eldest daughter to bed.

Another tip – eat good food and drink lots of water. It’s easy to forget when you’ve got that other little human to chase around and feed.

Take lots of photos and have fun. You’re a mom! And you’re going to be someone else’s mom too. Enjoy those moments with your little one while it’s just you guys. It will be amazing adding to your family, but this will be the last time like this.

Sure, you can have a special time with them – my husband and I will do this even now. I will do something with our eldest while he does something with the youngest. Then the next time, we swap. We love getting this time to keep our bonds with our girls strong.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive outing…it can be a walk, a visit to the park, or even grabbing an ice cream cone. In fact, I recommend it not be expensive, or else you’ll set the bar far too high, which will wind up stressing you out later.

Don’t forget that you wouldn’t have this new baby on the way with your spouse. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the kids, but you must make time for each other. Even if Grandma and Grandpa take your toddler for the evening so you can have a fancy dinner at home, just do it. It’s so important to stay connected.

Final thoughts on pregnancy differences the second time around…

You will definitely notice differences between your first and second pregnancies. This will vary from woman to woman. You’ll see them in your own body while trying to keep up with your other child.

But now that you know what to expect, you can work on that balance and prepare. Part of that includes enjoying where you are and making that time memorable for your little one. Stay in the present, yet prep for that future, and you’ll be fine!

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