Your Second Pregnancy: How Is It Different From The First?

Your Second Pregnancy: How Is It Different From The First?

Last update: 10 January, 2018

Your second pregnancy is likely to be much more relaxed and less stressful than the first, since being pregnant for the first time is always cause for mixed feelings.

Your first pregnancy is a new and often frightening experience, but also an exciting one. Being a mother is a huge responsibility, and you may have many doubts about pregnancy and birth.

During your second pregnancy, however, you’ll feel better prepared and more informed than before, giving you peace of mind. You know that pregnancy involves risk and pain, but you also know just how much all of this is worth it.

Giving birth is something that you have experienced in the past, and you know you are able to face it again.

Despite all of this, there are a few things to keep in mind. A second pregnancy tends to be different from the first in several ways, some of which are quite important.

Differences between first and second pregnancies

1. This time, your belly will grow earlier on

In your first pregnancy, your bump will start to be noticeable from around the fifth or sixth month.

The second time around, this happens differently, because the muscles of your abdomen are slightly more relaxed. This means that they adapt more quickly to the changes taking place, and you might see your bump from the third month onwards.

2. Your womb isn’t any bigger

Despite what you might have heard, your womb is no bigger than it was before. During your second pregnancy, it has to grow just as much as it did the first time.

differences between your first and second pregnancy

3. You might not have the same symptoms as you did the first time

You won’t necessarily suffer the same symptoms as you did in your first pregnancy. Common side-effects like nausea and back pain are likely to reoccur, but other, more serious symptoms, such as hyperemesis gravidarum, may not come back.

4. You will feel your baby moving earlier

In a second pregnancy, you might start to feel your baby moving from around the 14th week. In first-time moms this tends to happen at the 20th or 21st week of pregnancy.

5. Childbirth may be a different experience

Even if you have previously had a cesarean, you may be able to give birth naturally the second time. Your scar will not cause any problems for the birthing process.

It is also important to note that even if your water broke spontaneously the first time around, that may not be the case in your second pregnancy.

6. An episiotomy is not always necessary

Today, doctors carry out an episiotomy only when strictly necessary. If you had one when you gave birth for the first time, though, it is possible that you’ll need one again.

7. Going back to pre-natal classes is a good idea

Even though you already went during your first pregnancy, it’s always advisable to do the classes again. They will give you the chance to do physical and relaxation exercises, and to meet other moms.

8. You might dilate faster than you did the first time

The process of dilation should be quicker when you give birth for the second time. For example, if it took 24 hours for you to dilate the first time, this time it should take less than half that.

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

-Elizabeth Stone-

How do I prepare for a second pregnancy?

When you make the decision to bring another member to your family, you need to prepare yourself both physically and mentally. Many changes will take place, which will not just affect you, but also your partner and your older child.

Make sure to analyze your situation to help you make the right decision at the right time.

1. Start taking care of your health before you get pregnant.

We often make the mistake of starting to take care of our health once we find out that a baby is on the way. In fact, it is important to do this before you are pregnant, since your body needs time to adjust.

Stop smoking and drinking, start taking folic acid, and watch what you eat.

partners holding hands and baby shoes

2. Go to the doctor

It is important to go to the doctor during this pregnancy. Pre-pregnancy checkups are vital to ensure that your body is ready to go through this process again.

They can also help clear up any doubts you might have about being pregnant for a second time.

3. Leave the right amount of time between your first and second pregnancy

It is important to leave enough time between the birth of your first baby and your second pregnancy. An age gap of 2 to 5 years is ideal, but there should not be a problem as long as you make sure to leave a minimum of 6 months between pregnancies.

Every family is different, so choose the best thing for yours when the time comes.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Timur, Hakan & Topçu, Hasan Onur & Kokanali, Mahmut & Topcu, Seda & Erkılınç, Selçuk & Uygur, Dilek & Yakut, İbrahim. (2015). Factors That Affect Perinatal Outcomes of the Second Pregnancy of Adolescents. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 29. 10.1016/j.jpag.2015.05.002.
  • Soma-Pillay, Priya et al. “Physiological changes in pregnancy.” Cardiovascular journal of Africa vol. 27,2 (2016): 89-94. doi:10.5830/CVJA-2016-021

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.