First Pregnancy Vs Second (The 10 Most Common Differences & Worries!)

If you are pregnant with your second child, you will quickly realize that this pregnancy is different from the first one in so many ways. If the symptoms you are feeling during your second pregnancy are different from the first one, you are probably filled with worries and think that something is wrong. 

Your first pregnancy will be different from your second pregnancy in many ways – noticing symptoms and baby’s movement earlier, increased weight gain or a bigger baby bump, and maybe even easier labor. You’ll also need to prepare differently with another already at home and consider potential complications related to your first pregnancy or age.

Read along as we discuss how your second pregnancy compares to your first pregnancy and talk in-depth about the 10 most common differences and worries.

10 ways your second pregnancy will be different than the first

You have probably heard the saying “no two pregnancies are similar” and this is true – especially if you are currently pregnant with your second child. Since every situation is different and the only experience that you have with pregnancy is with your first one, it is a common source of stress and worries if you are feeling differently. 

It is important to understand that your second pregnancy might be vastly different from your first one and that is completely normal and natural. Your second pregnancy might be easier or it might be harder, regardless of how you are feeling, it is important to make sure that you and your baby are getting the care that you need during this time. 

It is common knowledge that, with your second baby, you will start showing sooner because your abdominal muscles are already stretched out from your first pregnancy. With your second pregnancy, you will also experience symptoms as early as 5 weeks. This is partly because you are already familiar with early pregnancy symptoms. After all, this is not your first time. 

Here are the most common differences between the first pregnancy and second pregnancy:

  • You might feel the baby move sooner
  • Symptoms might come earlier
  • You might gain more weight
  • You might show earlier and bigger
  • Labor might happen sooner and be easier
  • You’ll need to consider the age gap
  • Pregnancy might be harder after a c-section
  • If you had preeclampsia the first time, you are at increased risk
  • Pregnancy is different after 30, 35, or 40
  • Preparing for your second baby will be different

You might feel the baby move sooner

The first pregnancy is different from the second pregnancy because you will feel your baby move sooner. Since this is not your first time being pregnant, you are more attuned with your body and how pregnancy feels like especially if you are having a planned pregnancy. 

Baby movements or quickening can be felt during the end of the first trimester and going into the early part of the second trimester. Quickening can oftentimes be confused as gas or upset stomach, but second-time moms can differentiate these movements as tiny baby flutters.

According to WebMD, first-time moms sometimes won’t feel any baby movement until the 25th week while second-time moms can start feeling movements during the 13th week. The movements can be felt under the belly button early on in the pregnancy but it does not stay there. Once the baby grows, the movements can be more pronounced and can be felt within different parts of your belly.

If this is your second pregnancy and you feel like you don’t feel movements as frequently compared to your first, you have to think about your current situation before worrying. When you are laying down and not doing anything, you will feel the baby’s movements more but if you are constantly on the move or trying to keep up with your first child, you will most likely not feel the movements at all since you are preoccupied. 

If you are still concerned about not feeling movements, you should consult with a health professional for further guidance. For a more in-depth look into this topic, check out my article here.

Symptoms might come earlier

The first pregnancy is different from the second pregnancy because symptoms might come earlier.

Since this is your second pregnancy, you are more familiar with the early pregnancy symptoms that pregnancy brings like breast tenderness, tiredness, and morning sickness. You will be more attuned to your body this time around and will be able to differentiate normal tiredness compared to tiredness brought about by pregnancy.

The earliest symptoms can sometimes be felt 1-2 weeks after conception and are accompanied by breast soreness. Your baby bump will also have an early appearance this time around and will show earlier than expected because your abdominal muscles are already stretched. 

If you are experiencing early symptoms, rest assured that this is all normal and part of the course for second pregnancies and should not be a cause of concern or a sign that something is wrong.

Another symptom that comes in early is the position of your baby bump. During second pregnancies, women tend to carry their baby bumps lower because of weakened abdominal muscles that are caused by the first pregnancy. Since the baby bump is lower this time around, you will have more pressure on your bladder which means frequent trips to the bathroom.

Even back pains and aches will likely show earlier during your second pregnancy. Relaxin is a hormone released by the placenta and cervix which makes your cervix softer in preparation for childbirth. This hormone makes your ligaments softer which can lead to lower back pain. 

If you had a c-section delivery during your first pregnancy, you will likely feel pain around the incision during your second pregnancy. The reason for this is because scar tissue developed around your incision and your growing baby bump will make the scar tissue stretch which can result in pain.

Learn more about symptoms during a second pregnancy!

You might gain more weight

The first pregnancy is different from your second pregnancy because you might gain more weight. Some studies suggest that during their second pregnancy, mothers tend to gain the same weight during the first pregnancy. However, some factors can influence weight gain which includes hormones, sex of baby, pre-pregnancy weight, diet, and activity level.

It is important to realize that gaining weight during pregnancy should be at appropriate levels because it is a vital part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy and delivery. The amount of weight that you gained during your first pregnancy is a good indicator of how much weight you will gain during your second pregnancy but it is also important to know that there are a lot of factors that can affect weight gain.

According to the CDC, 48% of pregnant women gain more than their recommended weight gain levels while 12% gain less. Both instances can carry risks which is why it is essential to gain weight based on what your doctor is recommending.

Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, you should expect to gain 15-40 pounds during your pregnancy and if you are carrying twins, you will probably gain between 25-60 pounds.

After your first pregnancy, you might also realize that you can’t shed all the pounds you have gained and you are having a hard time with going back to your pre-pregnancy weight. This will only get harder with your second pregnancy especially if you don’t make time for exercise and have a balanced diet. 

Learn more about weight gain during a second pregnancy!

You might show earlier and bigger

Your first pregnancy is different from your second pregnancy because you might show earlier and bigger.

This is primarily due to your abdominal muscles being stretched out during your first pregnancy. Other reasons why you might be showing earlier and bigger include abdominal bloating, the shape of your uterus, or an inaccurate due date.

Showing early or bigger is not a cause of concern, especially if you are keeping up with your regularly scheduled check-ups. According to Healthline, the number of pregnancies that you have had can also directly affect how early you will be showing your baby bump

Abdominal bloating can be a reason why you are showing earlier, especially since your body is releasing hormones that can lead to fluid retention. 

Another reason why you are showing could be Diastasis Recti, which is a condition wherein your mid-abdominal muscles separate and have space in between. This condition usually corrects itself after your first pregnancy but studies have shown that a third of women suffering from this condition tend to keep it throughout their future pregnancies. 

Your uterus shape can also contribute to your baby bump being more prominent the second time around, especially if your uterus is tilted towards the front as opposed to the back. If you feel like you are bigger and showing more than how far along you are – you may be right! Another reason why you are showing earlier might be from an inaccurate calculation of your due date. 

Other reasons why you are showing earlier and bigger can also be attributed to carrying multiple babies, and the timeframe between your pregnancies. It is essential to realize that if you are showing bigger during your second pregnancy, this does not mean that your baby is also bigger. There is no correlation between these two things and it should not be a cause of concern. 

Learn more about early and bigger showing during second pregnancy!

Labor might happen sooner and be easier

The first pregnancy is different from your second pregnancy because labor might happen sooner and possibly easier.

Since your body is already used to labor and delivery, you already know what to expect and how to tell if you are going to start labor. Because of this, second pregnancies often have easier labor.

Only 4% of babies come in exactly at their due dates, and first-time babies are never on time. When it comes to your second pregnancy, the baby will probably come sooner than your due date compared to your first one. There is no scientific reasoning behind this, but it is likely because your body is already used to labor and pregnancy hormones that go with it.

There are a number of factors that can affect your first delivery versus the second delivery. These factors include the method of delivery, gestational age at delivery, risk factors, labor duration, and the size of the baby. 

Women who experienced early birth during their first pregnancy have a higher chance of delivering early during their second pregnancy. The time between your pregnancies also plays a factor, if the interval between pregnancies is shorter, you will have a higher probability of premature labor.

The time that you will spend during labor also varies from the first to the second pregnancy. During the first pregnancy, labor duration can vary from 12 to 18 hours compared to 8 to 10 hours during your second pregnancy. 

Learn more about labor during your second pregnancy!

You’ll need to consider the age gap

The first pregnancy is different from the second pregnancy because of the age gap between your two babies. Most parents prefer the age gap between children to be from one to three years. In doing this, they can make sure that mom can recover in between pregnancies and the kids are close enough in age to grow up together. 

It is ideal to wait at least 18 months from the delivery of your first child before getting pregnant again. This ensures that your body has ample time to recover after the pregnancy and delivery. If you are thinking about expanding your family, there are a lot of factors to consider like a mother’s age and health, financial, and childcare situations.

Deciding on whether or not to get pregnant with your second child is a big decision. Some parents want the age gap between siblings to be smaller so that they can grow up together and have shared interests. On the other hand, some parents prefer a bigger age gap so that they can enjoy their children and have one-on-one time. 

Here are some of the important things to consider when you are thinking about getting pregnant for the second time:

  • Time to conceive
  • Breastfeeding problems
  • Parenting during pregnancy
  • Managing childcare
  • Family finances
  • Hand-me-downs
  • Sibling relationships
  • Parenting styles and preferences
  • College tuition

Learn more about the age gap between your first and second baby!

Pregnancy might be harder after a C-section

Your first pregnancy is different from your second pregnancy because pregnancy might be harder after a c-section.

You should be aware that second pregnancies after c-section delivery are safe for women, although there is an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. 

You should always consult with your doctor or midwife so that you are fully aware and prepared for the complications that might arise and also to make sure that you are healed from the c-section. 

C-section delivery is major surgery and requires that women have at least 8 weeks of time to heal as opposed to a normal delivery at 6 weeks. For women who did not have health complications or serious medical conditions, it is safe to get pregnant after a c-section delivery. 

After a c-section, it is ideal to wait between 12-15 months after delivery to start conceiving again. This timeframe was established to make sure that your body had healed properly and that your internal and external scars have ample time to heal completely. 

There are potential risks that can arise from being pregnant after a c-section delivery. These risks can include cramping from the scar tissue, uterine rupture, or placental abruption. To minimize these risks, it is important to seek your doctor’s advice and keep up with regularly scheduled visits. 

It is possible to have a normal delivery for your second pregnancy after a c-section delivery from your first. This is known as vaginal birth after c-section or VBAC and it requires a little more planning. VBAC is possible as long as you don’t have any of the following conditions: obesity, older than 35, preeclampsia, or having a large baby.

Learn more about a second pregnancy after a C-section!

If you had preeclampsia the first time, you are at increased risk

Your first pregnancy is different from your second pregnancy because if you had preeclampsia the first time, you are at an increased risk of having it again.

There are many factors that can affect preeclampsia happening again and this includes IVF treatments, hypertension, or diabetes, as well as carrying multiples. Even if there is an increased chance of preeclampsia happening again, women who have had this condition with their first pregnancy can carry on their second without suffering from it.

You should have continued conversations with your doctor so that they can recommend a course of action to minimize the risk during your second pregnancy.

The likelihood of preeclampsia happening again can affect up to 20% of pregnant women. Your doctor will be the best resource whether you are ready to get pregnant again and whether it is safe to do so.

It is important to know that preeclampsia will resolve on its own after the delivery of your first baby. You might have symptoms and your blood pressure will be monitored for the first few weeks of delivery. You will not have a hard time conceiving unless you have major complications. 

The Mayo Clinic states that the longer you wait with having your second pregnancy, the lesser the chance of preeclampsia happening again. While there is no magic time frame or number, having a larger rather than a smaller gap between pregnancies can lower your chances of preeclampsia.

Diet and exercise play an important role in curbing preeclampsia and you should always have regularly scheduled checkups with your doctor to monitor your pregnancy.

Learn more about a second pregnancy after preeclampsia!

Pregnancy is different after 30, 35, or 40

Your first pregnancy is different from your second pregnancy because it is different after ages 30, 35, labor, or 40. Deciding at what age you should conceive is a decision that is up to you and your partner, but it is important to realize that your pregnancy during ages 30, 35, or 40 is all quite different from each other.

People are waiting later to have kids and this is because of different factors like financial stability or having personal goals that they want to meet before having kids. Most experts are saying that conceiving after the age of 30 is more challenging than trying to conceive in your 20s.

The risks when it comes to pregnancy are low in your 30s and increase slightly when you are pregnant during 35 years of age. The risks are magnified if you are pregnant in your 40s. The reason for this is that the older you get, your eggs also are older and can lead to carrying genetic abnormalities.

If you are considering getting pregnant and you are 35 or older, you should try to keep a healthy lifestyle by diet and exercise. This will help minimize the complications of pregnancy at this age. You should also consult with your doctor if you are planning on getting pregnant at ages 35 and 40 so that he could assess your situation and plan out a course of action. 

It is highly possible to get pregnant after the age of 30, you just have to be prepared that there might be complications and it will be harder to conceive the older you get. 

Learn more about second pregnancy after 30, 35, or 40!

Preparing for your second baby will be different

Your first pregnancy is different from your second pregnancy because the preparation will be different. You probably had a long to-do list with your first pregnancy but trust me, when I say your list will be better and more comprehensive the second time around.

Not only are you preparing yourself and your home for the baby’s arrival, but you will also be dealing with your firstborn child’s needs and preparing him for his sibling. 

You already have experience with the preparation piece and at this point, you know what you need to get or things that you can do without. One of the best things about having a second baby is having hand-me-downs from your first one so you don’t have to go all out when it comes to baby gear especially if they are at least 1 or more years apart.

With your first pregnancy, you probably had a comprehensive list of things to consider but your priorities change with having one child versus having two children. You will realize that there are things that you could have done differently or could have done without specific baby gear or toys.

As you near your due date, you will be busy preparing for the arrival of your newest bundle of joy but keep in mind that you should also be spending one-on-one time with your first child and preparing him for the changes that will come with being an older sibling. 

Preparing for the arrival of your second baby will have you reevaluating everything like possibly getting a bigger car, a bigger house, and baby sleeping arrangements. Childcare arrangements and parents’ careers are also important factors to think about and you have to figure out a situation that works best for you and your family. 

Learn more about preparing for your second pregnancy!

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