Second pregnancy, all you need to know

Who I am
Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
Author and references

Contents

  • 1 Anxiety about the second pregnancy 
  • 2 Second pregnancy: when to plan it 
  • 3 Second pregnancy: will it be like the first?
  • 4 Second pregnancy and baby bump 
  • 5 Disorders of the second pregnancy
  • 6 Second pregnancy and fetal movements 
  • 7 Second pregnancy and preparatory contractions
  • 8 Duration of the second pregnancy
  • 9 Second pregnancy, labor and delivery
  • 10 Second pregnancy and Vbac
  • 11 Second pregnancy: redo the pre-baby course?
  • 12 How to deal with the firstborn 
  • 13 Secondary infertility: when the second child does not arrive 

"You are not thinking of leaving him an only child?". “When are you still expanding your family?”. "Julia, darling, don't you want a little brother?". After the birth of a child, sooner or later the questioning of the second child is triggered. It's only a matter of time, but we all get asked when we are going to embark on a new adventure as a parent. And in fact, to almost all mothers and fathers at some point the idea begins to blend: why not try to have a second pregnancy?



Anxiety about the second pregnancy 

Let's face it, moms: starting all over again is scary. The lack of sleep, the diapers to change, the lullabies to sing, the colic, the teeth that are boring, the shirts that stink of regurgitated milk, the lack of time for oneself and one's partner. It takes courage, right? Of course it takes some.

But let's see it from a different perspective. The laughter of a child that multiplies by two. The caresses made by four little hands. The basins doubled. A playmate and prankster forever. A continuous opportunity for growth. The positive aspects are many. But above all else, deciding to have a second child is an immeasurable act of love towards the first. Obviously, you don't know what path life takes, but having a brother or sister means never being alone. And it is therefore a wonderful gift. 



Certainly there are also practical doubts, for example for the management of a small house with 4 people inside or for salaries that are often never enough. You don't have to worry about this: you will certainly find the best solution. And you don't even have to ask yourself if you will be able to love your children in the same way. Remember that love is not reduced, but on the contrary it doubles.   

Another encouragement. After the first experience you are certainly more mature and more practical. In fact, the second gestation is experienced in a much more relaxed way because many things are already known and there are fewer unknowns, both during the wait and in the post partum. So, no stress, moms: enjoy it all!

Second pregnancy: when to plan it 

A small premise: we are assuming that the second baby is planned, but it can happen that it arrives "by surprise", without any research. For example, there are "children of interrupted coitus" which is not a contraceptive, "children of the pill" if it is taken incorrectly and also "children of breastfeeding" which is not a contraceptive method. These are much less rare cases than you think. 

So when to look for a second pregnancy? The answer is very subjective. There are couples who prefer to do it immediately, so that the two children do not have much difference in age. Especially at the beginning it can be very tough and you have to grit your teeth, but seeing them literally grow together is beautiful.  


Other parents, on the other hand, choose to wait for the firstborn to be a little older. His autonomy of him (for example if he already knows how to walk or if he is already "spannolinato") means that mum and dad can take care of both more easily. A grown-up first child (say 6-7 years onwards) can also be a good helping hand when it comes to looking after the baby.


But let's keep in mind one thing. We can plan whatever we want, but it is impossible to predict when she will get pregnant. Unfortunately, it is not us who decide, but nature does it. 

Second pregnancy: will it be like the first?

Hardly any two pregnancies are alike. For example, compare yours with that of your sister or your best friend. There will certainly be some things in common, but many others will differ. This is why we must not be "terrified" by the stories of the others: it will be an absolutely unique experience. 

And this also applies to the second pregnancy. It is by no means certain that you will vomit for 9 months as it has already happened to you, nor that you will sleep like little angels without losing an hour of sleep. Everything can be very different. So leave calmly, without creating any particular expectations or unfounded fears. Let's see in detail the things that may be different between one pregnancy and another. 

Second pregnancy and baby bump 

Often, the second pregnancy is "visible" before the previous one. The swelling of the abdomen may already occur around the third month of pregnancy, while generally for the first-time mothers this occurs around the fourth month of pregnancy. Why is the baby bump seen earlier? Because the abdominal muscles are looser, more "relaxed" after the previous gestation and therefore it is noticeable in advance. 


Disorders of the second pregnancy

As we have already mentioned, it is not a rule that the disorders of pregnancy are the same. It is not strange to have a first heavenly experience and a second one to forget. Or vice versa: 40 weeks of pregnancy nightmare the first time and magnificent the next. There are no equal standards for all. 

The only thing to note is that some disorders have a genetic basis (such as stretch marks) or recur more frequently if they already occurred in the previous pregnancy. An example is that of gestational diabetes. Those affected for the first time may have it again. 


One of the predominant symptoms of second pregnancy could be fatigue. It is already a classic ailment, which could be exacerbated by the presence of the firstborn. Whatever his age, he always requires a lot of attention and maybe you have less time to lie down on the bed and take a nap at any time of day. 

Second pregnancy and fetal movements 

With the second pregnancy, are the footballs perceived earlier? In general this is the case, even if as with any aspect it is not always true. On average, a primipara feels fetal movements not before the 19th week of pregnancy, but often afterwards as well. From the second child onwards, the football could be heard even earlier, around the 15th week of pregnancy.

It must be considered that when you are at the first experience everything is new and you don't know a lot of things. In subsequent pregnancies we are able to recognize some specific signals. So now you know that what seemed like an air bubble in your abdomen a few years ago is your baby wriggling in your belly. 

Second pregnancy and preparatory contractions

They are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. They prepare the uterus for those of childbirth, that is, the "good" ones for giving birth to the baby. Braxton-Hicks contractions occur as occasional and painless hardening of the belly. They are also not regular. These characteristics differentiate them from the right contractions. In pregnancies following the first, they tend to be felt early, ie at the beginning of the third trimester. Normally, however, they are felt from about the eighth month of pregnancy. 

Duration of the second pregnancy

Also in this case, it is by no means certain that if the first time you gave birth at 40 split weeks, you will have the same Swiss punctuality again. Only in preterm births (i.e. those before the 37th week) is there a certain repetition. If you have had a premature baby it could happen again with your little brother or sister. 

Generally, firstborns tend to be born more often after the presumed delivery date compared to those who arrive later. Sometimes it is necessary to induce childbirth.

Second pregnancy, labor and delivery

Statistically, the news is quite comforting. Multipare girls (i.e. women who have more children, therefore from the second pregnancy onwards) take less time to bring their children into the world. So if you have the memory (or rather the nightmare) of a very long and painful first labor, the second time could go much better. For the second birth, midwives recommend rushing to the hospital when the contractions become regular to avoid having the baby in the living room or in your partner's car. 

We also comfort you about the episiotomy, that is the cutting of the perineum which serves to facilitate the exit of the child at the moment of expulsion. The use of this procedure (which takes a few more days to recover better) is less frequent with the second birth, on the contrary instead of the first. Probably this happens because the tissues are more "trained".

Second pregnancy and Vbac

If the first pregnancy ends with a caesarean section, it is not automatic that this also happens for the second. Vbac, spontaneous birth after a caesarean, is an option increasingly proposed by gynecologists and welcomed by mothers with great enthusiasm. The caesarean is not always accepted willingly by women, who feel a little deprived of the possibility of giving birth naturally. In some circumstances, however, it is indispensable.  

The advantages of a Vbac include having a vaginal birth and not having to undergo surgical procedures, with related complications; greater chances of having an uncomplicated birth in the event of a future pregnancy and a shorter hospitalization; less abdominal pain after childbirth; faster recovery and greater ease in caring for the newborn.

To be able to do a Vbac it is necessary that at least one year has passed since the caesarean, better still 18 months. Among the risks (although they have a very low incidence) are the rupture of the uterus, the possibility of having an emergency cesarean, fetal suffering. If this birth procedure is desired, it is therefore important to contact hospitals that are equipped to deal with any type of emergency. Ask your doctor well. 

Second pregnancy: redo the pre-baby course?

It definitely doesn't hurt. Especially if a lot of time has passed since the first child, a brush up on the basic concepts of motherhood, labor and childbirth can only help you. Over the years some notions may have gotten a bit lost in memory and it is certainly worth recovering and putting them into practice. If it's been a while since your first pregnancy, you might as well do without it.

The "bis" preparation course may be appropriate if you are choosing a new hospital in which to give birth. It is an opportunity to become familiar with the structure, get to know the staff and learn about all the services offered to expectant mothers. 

But we give you another idea, especially convenient in this period in which Covid imposes social distancing. Take the MyModernsParents preparation course in our app. You can choose what to watch among the 8 proposed meetings, if you really don't want to do it all, recover some notions and practice breathing with our midwife.  

How to deal with the firstborn 

Very often it is the first children who ask mom and dad for a little brother or sister, especially if there are many cousins ​​or little friends. Even the little ones feel loneliness and soon discover the pleasure of being together with others. And then comes the big question: mom, will you give me this gift?

But between saying and doing, you know, there is the sea in between. The baby bump is beautiful to caress, but what will really happen when the baby is born? How to deal with it? How to overcome jealousies and critical issues? We talked about it in How to behave if there is a little brother on the way. Go and read.

Secondary infertility: when the second child does not arrive 

If you got pregnant in the blink of an eye the first time, nowhere is it written that it will be the same for the next time. The variables are different, but age is in pole position. If it has been a long time since the arrival of your first child and, in particular, if you have crossed the threshold of 35-40 years, it is not obvious that the goal will be reached quickly. It may take months for fertility to decline as the age of the expectant mother increases. 

Secondary infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after one or more completed pregnancies. There are several causes: ovarian dysfunction, seminal fluid problems, incorrect lifestyle, excess weight or obesity, pathologies affecting the female reproductive system such as endometriosis, the advanced age of the mother. Other times, however, there is no specific reason. The diagnosis is made after 12 months of targeted and unprotected sexual intercourse if you are young, but it is advisable to consult your gynecologist if you do not get pregnant after 6 months and you are over 35 years old. She will prescribe some tests to do to get a clearer idea and understand what to do. 

Share Share Share Share
add a comment of Second pregnancy, all you need to know
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.