Congratulations on your second pregnancy! So you are going to be a mother again! Motherhood is a wonderful feeling indeed.
Second Pregnancy – What to Expect
You must be wondering, in what ways your experience is going to differ from your first one. Also, since your body is older than the first time around, you might also be anxious about possible complications. Here are a few things to expect during your second pregnancy period, and some cautions that you need to take, to ensure that everything is smooth sailing.
Changes In Your Body Different From Your First Pregnancy:
- Your morning sickness may be less severe, although this is not a rule. Varicose veins, hemorrhoids and leaky bladder are likely to occur again though.
- You may get easily fatigued this time. You might not get as much rest as you did the first time, what with having to care for your first kid. Your pelvic joints may hurt more. You need to be much more careful about your posture, and lie on your side while sleeping.
- Your belly may enlarge and a bump starts to show much earlier than the first time. Your uterine wall has already undergone expansion before, so your muscles are more flexible now. Sometimes, second pregnancy becomes apparent even before the second trimester, as early as the 8th – 10th week.
- The first time, labor can last as long as 12 to 14 ours, or even 20 hours in some cases. But the second time, the labor period is often much reduced. The cervical muscles dilate faster, about 1.5 cm per hour, as compared to 1.2 cm per hour in the first pregnancy. However, if the first time you had a C-section, then the second time the labor phase will not be reduced.
- The uterine contractions that mothers experience for the first few days after birth may be more severe this time. These uterine contractions are actually signs that your uterus is returning to its pre-pregnancy state. But the pains associated with it may be so severe that you may feel the need of medications.
Emotional Adjustments For Yourself And Your Family:
- The second time pregnant mothers often do not stay as much preoccupied with their pregnancy as they did the first time. They have to look after their first-born, who might very well be an active toddler or a pre-schooler. Also, being more experienced, they tend to be less anxious. But sometimes they may think that they are not taking as much care of the unborn baby as they should and feel guilty. Rest assured, in the second pregnancy, requisite frequency of natal checkups is less than the first one. Also, you will have ample opportunity to care for the new baby after its birth.
- Guilt pangs may also arise from inability to spend as much time with your first kid and husband as you used to before the second pregnancy. You may fell that you are neglecting our older child. Relax; consider this as an opportunity for them to learn to take care of them.
- You might worry about the right time to tell your first child about your second pregnancy. It is advisable to tell them as soon as possible, to give them sufficient time to adjust to the idea. Try and spend quality time with them, involve them in your planning for the newborn. Assure them that they are not becoming any less important to you because the second baby is on its way. Make them feel that you are relying upon them to take care of their baby sibling. If they are to be shifted to another room or to another bed, do not wait till your delivery time, they might feel replaced. Also, consider making them a part of the delivery by keeping them in the waiting room at childbirth.
Complications That Might Arise
- Weight gain between pregnancies increases the risks of complications for both the mother and the second baby. Studies show that the gain of even 3 to 6 kilos can lead to high blood pressure and pregnancy-diabetes. The gain of 9 kilos can cause toxemia, pre-eclampsia, or even still-birth.
- Pre-eclampsia is more likely if the first baby was premature or smaller than normal, or the mother has diabetes or chronic high blood pressure. The symptoms of pre-eclampsia are pregnancy induced hypertension, protein in urine and excessive fluid retention. This can restrict blood flow to placenta in severe cases. The longer the gap between pregnancies, the higher the risk of these problems.
- Rh-disease erythroblastosis fetalis is also another high-risk factor during the second pregnancy. This occurs when the mother is Rh¬- while the fetus is Rh+ in the first pregnancy. Some red blood cells from the fetus may enter the mother’s bloodstream at the time of delivery. These activate Rh-specific antibodies, which persist within the mother’s blood. In a subsequent pregnancy, these anti Rh antibodies can cross the placenta and damage the blood cells of the fetus, with fatal consequences. This can be prevented by injection of Rhogam into the mother’s body after the birth of the first child. These destroy any fetal red blood cells that enter the bloodstream of the mother, and prevent formation of anti-Rh antibodies.
So all you second-time moms, hope your first experience makes you less anxious than before. You are now better aware of the diets you need to follow, the exercises you need to do in order to ensure that you experience a risk-free second pregnancy. Consult your OB, try and stay updated about any new tests or medications that may have been introduced. Consider joining a Lamaze class again, now that you may have forgotten much of the exercise routine. Discussing your experiences with other second-time mothers in your friend circle will further ease your tensions. So sit back, relax, enjoy your motherhood, and welcome the new baby in this earth cheerfully.
Second Pregnancy – What to Expect
by Apurva Shree