Differences Between First and Second Pregnancy

Pregnant Mother together with son.

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A second pregnancy does have its differences. Despite the fact that you are a veteran, you will be in for some surprises, both physical and mental. Not to mention, you will need to help prepare your other children for the new baby.

Physical Differences

Physically, you will find that you experience a lot of the sensations of tugging, pulling, and expanding about a month sooner than in your first pregnancy. This is because the uterus and supporting ligaments have stretched before, but also because you are more aware of what you are feeling. While this sounds unpleasant, there are added benefits, like recognizing fetal movements from your baby about a month earlier as well.

Each pregnancy is unique and requires the same level of care. This means that you will need to go for your prenatal check-ups at the same frequency you did with your previous pregnancy. You will have the same basic screenings that you had in your first pregnancy. If you had any complications in your first pregnancy, there may be a need for increased monitoring in a second pregnancy. An example would be if you developed gestational diabetes in a first pregnancy, you may have more or earlier monitoring in a second pregnancy.

Being a multi or multipara (means having already had a child) makes it more likely that you may also experience more frequent and possibly more painful Braxton-Hicks contractions, especially towards the end of pregnancy. Take heart in the fact that your body knows what it is doing.

Emotional and Mental Differences

With your first pregnancy, you probably spent a lot of mental and emotional energy on preparing for the birth of your child. Now that you have other children to take care of, you may feel emotionally distant from this pregnancy. This is a normal reaction and is by no means an indication that you will love this baby any less. Your partner may also be less interested in this pregnancy.

Parents might also worry about there being enough love for another child. How in the world could anyone ever live up to the wonder of your firstborn? Well, remember this baby is a different child and will have unique talents and characteristics of their own. Your love isn't a finite number, it is a never-ending supply of emotions. It may take time to fall in love with your newborn, but that can be common even with first babies.

Your Second Labor and Birth

It's a common joke that first-time parents worry about birth because they don't know what to expect, but that second-time parents worry because they do know what to expect. Anxiety about your upcoming birth can be very normal. Despite the fact that you have done it before, it is normal to question what it will be like this time. That might include trying to avoid some of the things that happened before or to make sure that it goes very much like the first one.

One thing that can help reduce any worry about your upcoming labor and delivery, and increase emotional involvement and attachment is to attend another series of childbirth classes.

Many second-time parents may be anxious about labor and birth because of what they know. You would be surprised by what you will hear in class the second time around. A lot of second-timers say that they actually learned more because they were open to more possibilities, knowing that labor wasn't a predictable course. This also gives you a chance to spend time with your partner and focus on this pregnancy.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.