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Whether you are just beginning to plan for it or are already in the middle of a second pregnancy, this is an exciting time in your life. All too often however, pregnancy information is geared toward first-timers. Here we’ll take a look at what you need to know for a second or subsequent pregnancy.
1. The second pregnancy can be very different from the first. Sounds obvious, but it’s natural to subconsciously ‘expect’ the same kind of symptoms, same birthing experience the next time around… and while that’s possible, it’s far more common to have differences between the pregnancies. Which brings us to the next point:
2. You still need to care for yourself properly as you did with the first pregnancy. You’re not suddenly invincible just because you’ve been through pregnancy before (a common mistake which I found out the hard way!) So, no heavy lifting, etc… follow the same safe guidelines as in your first pregnancy.
3. Don’t assume you know everything already. Besides not being invincible, you are also not all-knowing about pregnancy just because you have been through it one or more times previously. Report anything unusual or concerning promptly and let your doctor be the judge of your situation.
4. Expect different challenges in daily living. Adding pregnancy onto your daily life is going to be an extra challenge, although of course a very worthwhile one! Anticipate areas where you might need to let go (for example, do you really need to clean your home on a weekly basis?)
Pregnancy is an exciting time, whether it is your first, second or subsequent pregnancy. Although it can also seem overwhelming, your workload won’t have increased immeasurably with a second pregnancy.
- If you’re a working mother, remember that when the new baby is born and you’re on maternity leave, you can look forward to sleeping at the same time as the baby sleeps while your oldest is in daycare.
- If you’re a stay-at-home mother, remember that you were pregnant and working at one time with your first pregnancy; a second pregnancy simply replaces your previous work outside the home with your current care you provide for your older child.
5. Think about childcare for your prenatal check-ups. If you’re a stay-at-home mother caring for a young child, you’ll need to identify ideally two or more trusted sitters who could care for your child while you’re at the doctor. That way if one sitter isn’t available, odds are another may be. This will become especially important toward the last trimester when appointments occur more frequently.
Depending on the spacing of your children, this may not be an issue (e.g. if your older ones are in school or daycare, you may be able to time your appointments to happen during the school day).
6. Make childcare arrangements for labor and delivery. Who will care for your older child while you’re in hospital for the new baby? This isn’t something you had to worry about with your first pregnancy! It’s ideal if your mother or mother-in-law can come stay for a while before the due date through until after the baby is born, to provide childcare for your older child.
7. Make emergency childcare arrangements in case you go into labor early. Ask any close friends and family in town who you would trust to care for your older child, if they would be willing to do so in an emergency (e.g. if you go into labor early, or if you have some other complication requiring hospitalization). Explain you are creating an “emergency childcare list”.
8. Take advantage of free pregnancy coaching through your health insurance. Check whether your health insurance company offers free phone counseling with a registered nurse to help you with questions you may have during pregnancy. Some plans offer this, some don’t. This gives you a go-to contact for any non-urgent questions about this pregnancy which may have just never have come up during your first pregnancy. Of course, such a program is no substitute for your doctor’s care; it is simply an additional source of pregnancy information. For anything of an urgent or serious nature, contact your doctor right away.
9. You may experience an easier delivery than with your first pregnancy. Many women report that delivering a second or subsequent baby is an easier experience than the first delivery assuming there were no complications.
A second or subsequent pregnancy has unique challenges of its own which are described here. This is an exciting time in your life!