Second Pregnancy: 7 Things You Probably Didn't Know
I find it interesting the amount of things they never tell you about pregnancy, until you end up in a situation where you need to know. Of course, it's nearly impossible to expect a guide that covers first, second, third or fourth pregnancies and all the various different details of each one.
In any case, it was when myself and a few of my friends found themselves in the midst of a second pregnancy, that we learned of some interesting differences between the first and second pregnancy, that you might not know about.
Lower Blood Pressure
During a first pregnancy, it is very common to experience a large increase in blood pressure. Most of this is due to your body trying to handle all the new changes that come with making a baby. Though most women won't experience enough of a blood pressure increase to notice this change, for most, it's an unavoidable part of first pregnancy.
An interesting thing that I learned from my OBGYN, is that if your second pregnancy is with the same father as your first pregnancy, you are not likely to experience the blood pressure increase again. In fact, you are more likely to have nearly perfect levels throughout the pregnancy, unless complications arise. This same feature of second pregnancy is not thought to happen if your second pregnancy is with a different father then the first, which makes it interesting.
No one is yet sure as to why this phenomenon happens the way it does. It could be because your dna and your mates have already mixed once before, giving your body a bit of previous knowledge about it. Or it could be because it is often a lot calmer for a woman to continue creating her family with the same man. Who knows?
More Painful Round Ligament Pain
In your first pregnancy, you might not have noticed the constant ache and strain of round ligament pain. This is because your muscles had never stretched in the way they need to for pregnancy, so they most likely did not bother you until the third trimester or even just near the end of your pregnancy.
This changes in second pregnancy, and many (including myself) have found it much harder to deal with. You'll probably notice the pain will start out small, but noticeable enough at the end of the first trimester. Some have experienced relief from the pain in the second trimester, though it is very probable to come back full force once your third trimester begins. It can get to the point where walking is very difficult and sleep becomes nearly non-existent for those with severe round ligament pains.
The reason this happens, is because the muscles around your uterus have already been stretched before. Which means that they have already stretched back as well. Once a muscle has been broken and then healed, it becomes stronger when it heals. This can cause the muscles being stretched again, to hurt more than they did the first time. Which explains why the second time around, pregnancy can be more painful.
Braxton Hicks Increase
Most women really don't notice pre-labor contractions in their first pregnancy, also known as Braxton Hicks or False Labor contractions. At least not until the end of the third trimester. Some don't even notice it then.
There are several plausible reasons for braxton hicks contractions to happen worse in the second trimester, though there has never been a reason specifically pinpointed. The most widely accepted reasons; are that mother knows what to expect from labor and anticipates it earlier, the mothers emotional level is higher due to dealing with the first child and also because of the already aching round ligaments.
Not everyone is so lucky, but for most women, the nausea and morning sickness involved in a second pregnancy, is not nearly as bad. Some doctors have suggested it's more psychological, since you might experience the same level of nausea, but are better able to handle it. Or you might just be to busy with your first child and work, to pay much attention to how the nausea makes you feel.
Other medical experts feel that there is something more biological in the works, as many women often find themselves less effected by nausea and hormonal effects, with each subsequent pregnancy. Though no one has officially discovered the reason.
Either way, many of you will be happy to know that morning sickness and nausea will probably be much lower in your second pregnancy.
That's right! You'll notice your little one fluttering around there, up to a month earlier than you noticed in your first pregnancy.
For the most part, the reason you'll see your quickening sooner, is because you know what to look for and what it feels like. Whereas in your first pregnancy, every little tummy bubble and rumble could have been a baby movement. Another reason you can feel these baby flips, kicks and bumps sooner, is because your muscles will start to stretch out sooner. Making it so you can feel more of what is going on in there.
Biologically speaking, you should actually be less tired during your second pregnancy. Though since you are a mother of one already, and probably work a job while taking care of the house. All of these things put together, plus your painful pelvis, can make it hard to sleep and hard to keep your eyes fully open during the day.
Less Labor Time, Faster Birth
Although many women still find themselves in labor for at least 10 hours in the second pregnancy, that is still a lot shorter than the average 11 to 20 hours for a first pregnancy.
The reason for this is fairly simple. Remember those braxton hicks that hit your stronger and sooner in your second pregnancy? Those pre-labor contractions have been getting your body ready to give birth, though it has been doing so at a more spread out pace. This makes it so that when the baby is finally ready, he or she can pretty much just come right out.
The other reason for faster birth and less time in active labor, is because your cervix and vaginal walls have already stretched from your first child, making it easier for them to stretch open again this time. As to why they aren't tougher like your abdominal muscles, an answer is yet to be found. Though it should help your anxiety level a bit, to know that you won't have to be in the hospital as long for active labor.