Ok you have survived the labour and got through the sleepless nights, nappy changes are a breeze and you finally feel human again. So, by choice or by chance you find yourself ready to take it all on again!
If you are thinking about baby number two then remember all the great rules you learnt from baby number one and throw them out the window! Unfortunately no two pregnancies are the same and just when you think you’ve got it nailed, you’ll realise you haven’t got a clue. Don’t worry though, you were in the same boat with round one!
Don’t take it for granted that getting pregnant the second time round is going to be simple. Changes can happen to our bodies at any point and this can make conception tougher or, if you are lucky, easier. If you are really ready and having no luck then consider making an appointment with a fertility clinic. The sooner you get a plan together the better. Go through all your options and remember, you have done it before. Patience and time are the key.
If you already are expecting then you may have noticed morning sickness earlier than with your first. Some doctors suggest this is because our body notices the subtle changes more after the first pregnancy, perhaps you just understand your body more. There are lots of gentle differences between the first trimester of your second and first pregnancy including the sensation of baby moving at a much earlier stage. Just tiny butterflies tickling around. You may have mistaken them for trapped wind or a nervous stomach in your first, but this time you know what they are. It’s a great feeling and gives you more time to interact and bond with your unborn baby.
If you have a toddler at home then you will be a lot more tired during the first two trimesters. Finding a moment to take naps in the day or sleep through the night can seem impossible but it is vital to ensure the health of you and baby. Try to get as much help as you need to keep you healthy and get your body ready for labour.
You will notice some major differences in the final trimester. Fake contractions can be more noticeable and, more painful. Your cervix may also give you more signs it is beginning to get ready. You need to stay active if you can and not let these changes catch you out. Due to the muscles stretching and then contracting so much after your first birth, they have become stronger and as such may produce a higher level of discomfort whilst getting prepared for the next job. Go with it, invest in a tens device or take lots of warm baths. Try to move around as much as you can to keep your muscles from cramping up and make it easier for your baby to get into position.
You will notice that you feel a little more confident about giving birth, whilst you may have worries you also have the reassurance that you got through it before and you can again. Make a list of things you noticed in your first labour, what helped, what didn’t and then use those in your new birthing plan. Just bare in mind this isn’t the same set of circumstances. We can have longer to prepare with labour one. Labour two can sometimes be much quicker.
After labour you will also notice changes to your general feeling. Recovery time may be much quicker than the first however you can also be more aware of your body tightening up again. You may find this uncomfortable and you should talk to your midwife about additional help for pain. Back at home you need to remember that lifting and playing with your toddler may need to be put on hold for a week or two until your body has fully recovered and be aware of the baby blues. Hormones seem stronger the second time round and a few days after your get back you may feel a huge rush of anxiety, fear or relief. Prepare for tears and accept it is all part of the incredible process.
Most of all, enjoy this pregnancy with a confidence you didn’t have in the last. You are an expert now and you’ve heard all the horror stories before and seen that they don’t hold much value. Then get ready, two children is a whole different ball game! Keep your wits about you!!