Five Ways Giving Birth to Your Second Child Will be Different Than the First

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
After you have experienced having a baby once, the second time is usually easier for most mothers who are pregnant with their second child. One exception to this is in mothers who may be expecting multiples, which can be more complicated than a first pregnancy. There will be different things you may feel in your body, but you will be more familiar with them. For example, you may feel your baby kick sooner than you did in the first pregnancy.
With the second child, you are probably already so busy taking care of your first child that you may not be as “devoted” to the health aspects, at least as far as taking care of your personal health. Carrying a toddler around can be exhausting, especially while you are already tired from the baby growing inside of you. There is a greater chance of fatigue.
Aside from the physical differences you may feel differently about the second child. First-time mothers tend to obsess about their pregnancy more and be “baby-centric” whereas second time mothers are just happy to get through the day. First time mothers focus on every little thing, such as the ultrasounds, preparing the nursery, telling family, and talking about their baby non-stop. Second time mothers often adopt a “been there, done that” attitude and are simply too busy caring for the first child to worry about every little thing. As long as you have a clear checkup with the doc, all is well.
Although there are many more than on this list, here are 5 ways having your second child may be different than your first:
  • 1. Your body responds differently:
    Many second time mothers show sooner, since their muscles are already stretched to accommodate a growing fetus. You may also carry the baby lower, because your ab muscles are slightly weaker. Some mothers say this is more comfortable and that they can breathe easier during the second pregnancy. You may also develop incontinence from frequent urination, due to having those muscles “down there” stretched out. Try doing Kegel exercises.
  • 2. Less emphasis on perfection:
    During your first pregnancy, you want everything to be “perfect” for your new arrival. Mothers are less anal about the need for perfection during their second pregnancies, not because they care less about the next child, but simply because they are so busy being a mother.
  • 3. Easier labor and delivery:
    Your body has already lost elasticity by the second child, which means you could end up having the second baby a lot faster. Many women who have the second child within only a couple of years of the first do report having to “rush” to the hospital for the next baby, because there is less opportunity for fake contractions and false alarms.
  • 4. Less apt to document every detail:
    With baby #1, you may have video recorded the delivery, took maternity pictures, and taken endless pictures of daily milestones. With baby #2, you are too busy. You take fewer pictures, but you are also less obsessive about every blink, wink and goo-goo ga-ga.
  • 5. More overwhelming:
    To many mothers, having a second child can feel overwhelming, especially if your first child is still in diapers. As a mother, you may already feel like you have no time for yourself, and now with a second baby coming, it may seem surreal that you will ever get a good night’s sleep again. However, the pros often outweigh the cons. Look at it this way, at least your second child can play with the first child and they will keep each other occupied. They will become lifelong friends!

  • Of course, you will find other things that are different with the second child, and then it becomes even more complex when the third, fourth or more children come into play. In the end, nearly all parents would say the joys of parenthood outweigh the cons, even if the first few years of their lives make your life a little more challenging.


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