Your second pregnancy: What to expect

Your second pregnancy: What to expect
Will your second pregnancy be different from your first? Find out what to expect.

 



Did you have a smooth first pregnancy, or did you find it difficult? Will your second pregnancy be different?

Mixed feelings

Every pregnancy is unique. If your first pregnancy was difficult, you may feel nervous about the second. However, your second pregnancy will not necessarily be the same as the first.

It’s normal to have mixed feelings during a second pregnancy. Women are generally more confident because they know what to expect. However, they may also feel worried about going through the same difficult experiences they had the first time.

If your first pregnancy was difficult, it’s natural to feel nervous about the second one.

For example, you may feel anxious thinking about certain symptoms you had during your first pregnancy, a worrisome ultrasound scan, the pain of childbirth, or a difficult homecoming.

Are second pregnancies more tiring?

Women generally experience more fatigue during their second pregnancy. It makes sense: you already have a child, and you need to take care of them. Don’t hesitate to ask your partner and others for help. They can take certain tasks off your plate.

Avoid telling your child that you’re feeling more tired because of the baby so that they don’t associate it with something negative. It’s better to say, “Mommy is tired,” rather than, “Mommy is tired because there’s a baby in her tummy.” If your child finds this period difficult, try to adapt certain routines. For example, read to them on the couch where you’re already lying down instead of in their bedroom.

“Will I love my second child as much as my first?”

It’s common (and normal!) for parents to wonder whether they’ll love their second child as much their first and whether they’ll be able to give them the same amount of attention. It’s true that you will probably have less time and energy. But don’t worry, you’ll have just as much love to give!

Plus, your second child will benefit from having an older sibling as a role model. Their interactions with each other and the attention your baby receives from your eldest will be stimulating and rewarding.

Preparing your older child for the baby’s arrival

Many parents wait until the end of the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is lower, to explain to their firstborn that they’re going to have a little brother or sister. If you let others know that you’re pregnant, make sure your child doesn’t find out by accident. Keep in mind that the arrival of a baby is an abstract concept for a young child. It becomes more concrete when they see your belly growing.

Here are a few ideas on how to prepare your older child:

  • Tell them about when they were born. Show them pictures of you when you were pregnant with them and bring out their baby pictures. It’s also important to reassure your child that you’ll love them just as much when the baby arrives.
  • Involve your child in the preparations. This will make them feel important and useful. For example, let them choose pyjamas or a stuffed animal for the baby. They could also make a drawing to put in the baby’s room.
  • If possible, bring your child to meet the newborn baby of a friend or family member. This will allow them to see what their younger sibling will look like. You can say, “You won’t be able to play with her right away, but you’ll be able to touch her and hold her in your arms.”

Bringing your older child to the ultrasound

If you’d like to bring your child to the ultrasound, first ask the hospital if children are allowed to be present. Be aware, however, that a child under the age of 3 will not fully understand what they see on the screen. Your partner may also have trouble experiencing the moment to the fullest since they’ll have to keep an eye on your little one.

Older kids may enjoy seeing the ultrasound, but it depends on their level of patience and maturity. Remember, too, that if there’s bad news, you’ll have to cope with it with your child in the room.

Things to keep in mind

  • During a second pregnancy, parents have a better idea of what to expect, which can be reassuring.
  • If you’re tired, don’t tell your older child that it’s because of the baby.
  • It’s important to prepare your older child for the baby’s arrival and to reassure them that you love them.

 

Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Kim Ostiguy, nurse and clinical professor of perinatal health and pediatrics, Université de Sherbrooke
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
August 2019

 

Photo: GettyImages/NataliaDeriabina

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