It is taking forever. She waits impatiently to see what the results will be and the new direction that her life will take. She is pregnant. In some cases, this is met with dread. Oh no! How is she going to manage another baby? Is she up for this at her age? Can she and her partner manage it? The other reaction is joy. She is excited and happy, but is also wondering if things have changed a lot since her first pregnancy and delivery.
She may also like the idea of a natural childbirth versus one with medical interventions, yet is not sure if she is a candidate for either one. There are so many questions she will want to ask. She will be pouring over websites and talking to her doctor or midwife. Still, it is a big adjustment, becoming a Mom again.
She will most likely be turning to family and friends for advice too, especially those that had children in recent years. Regardless, it is a very emotional time, and she will need to take her feelings and emotions one step at a time as she comes to terms with a second pregnancy and all that it brings with it.
With many more questions, she may wish for a list of things to look for. From utero onwards, it would be helpful for many Moms to have a list for taking care of babies and even tips for raising them afterwards. We all wish for that magical list. What is possible though, is a list of things to know about getting pregnant. So, here are 15 Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Knocked Up Again:
15 It Can Get Infected Down There
One of the biggest fears a lot of older Moms have the second time around is the risk of infection during pregnancy. Yes, there are definitely higher risks for older pregnant Moms and their babies in general, but more findings are showing that if the older Mom is healthy, eating well, exercising and in general taking care of herself, she and baby will most likely be fine. Where Moms of all ages have to be careful is if they catch a virus or have a fever. There are some studies now linking viruses in early pregnancies to birth complications in babies, possibly autism and other delays. However, again if Mom is taking care of herself and getting good prenatal help, she will be fine. Her doctor will also discuss with her the risks and what she needs to be aware of in the prenatal phase.
14 It Hasn't Even Healed Yet
In some cases where Moms find themselves “surprised” by a second pregnancy not too soon after their first delivery, this can be especially challenging on her body. Many Moms will get pregnant when their first baby is under a year old. Depending on the kind of birth she had, her insides may still be in the healing process, particularly if she had a c-section or other medical interventions, such as an episiotomy. With a c-section, though it is common, it is major abdominal surgery and doctors usually recommend waiting at least 2 years after a c-section to have another child. The other reason is that emotionally she may still be adjusting to taking care of a baby full time. And hormonally, her body is in the process of balancing itself. If she does become pregnant, she needs to immediately watch her sleep, diet and take a prenatal vitamin.
13 Pregnancy Is Exhausting - So Is Motherhood
As this is her second time around, she will most likely be aware of how tired she was during pregnancy, especially if the second pregnancy occurs pretty soon after the first one. However, if she becomes pregnant many years after her first pregnancy, she may have forgotten how tired she can be. This is when pacing herself is of the utmost importance and making sure that her diet, sleep and overall health is in order. Ideally, before becoming pregnant, making sure she has a yearly checkup with her GP as well OB/GYN and dentist, can ensure her body is in the best shape possible to house another baby. It will also help her see areas where she can improve and get healthier for a stronger pregnancy.
12 Sleep Deprivation Is Dangerous
Another thing Mom has to be on the lookout for is sleep deprivation and the cumulative effects of it. Whether baby sleeps through the night soundly or is a difficult sleeper, every Mom will have experienced some degree of sleep deprivation either in pregnancy and in the early days and months that follow. It is not fun to go through one’s day in a haze, and adding on the responsibility of caring for a newborn or toddler 24/7 makes it that much more challenging. This is where the old “sleep when the baby sleeps” rule really has to apply. With more than one child to juggle, along with house, social and work responsibilities, a Mom has to really be sure that she is catching some zzz’s somewhere. I suggest taking short naps when baby is sleeping or going to bed earlier at night.
11 Will Mom Still Be Able To Bond With Her Newborn?
Another common worry when a woman is about to become or becomes pregnant for the second time is whether bonding with her first born will be affected in a negative way. Now, keep in mind that there will be changes and some adjustments for all in the family dynamic. But depending on the age of the first born, the changes can be talked about beforehand. For example, with a toddler, he/she will surely be affected more intensely as they require more of the Mom's attention to begin with. And here comes a helpless newborn who will monopolize most of Mom’s time at the beginning. However, older siblings will usually love to help Mom out, but Mom may be more torn having to stay home with baby while the older child goes about their extra-curricular activities. As long as the parents discuss the upcoming changes with their firstborn, many things can be anticipated and planned out.
10 What Will Happen To Her Hormones?
Depending on how quickly she becomes pregnant, hormones can wreak a lot of havoc on a woman’s body. All of those postpartum hormones that work to regulate breast milk production, get her body back to its prenatal size, and help her with baby bonding, can go through quite a rough time if she falls pregnant in the middle of this phase. She will need to be aware of her feelings and when she needs to seek help, either from family and friends or a doctor. If she has had a few years break from pregnancy and postpartum hormones, it will be about adjusting to how pregnancy and birth can do a number on her if she is not prepared with good self-care strategies. As mentioned previously, she will be older, how much older depends on when she becomes pregnant, so self-monitoring is essential.
9 Mom's Physical Health Will Take A Hit
If a Mom is finding exercising hard with one child, imagine with two or more! Now, this does not mean she needs to be hitting the gym four days a week or running like she is training for a marathon. It just means whatever fitness regime or light exercise works to keep her healthy and sane is what she needs to maintain when she is caring for two babies. There will obviously be periods where she is not exercising as much or at all. However, as long as she feels fit, energized and calm, she can squeeze in exercise with stroller walks, playing in the park, or swimming at a pool with little ones. Mental fitness would be her time for herself to unwind by reading, watching tv, knitting, time spent over a hobby etc. If Mom is realistic about what is possible, she will be at her best with her children.
8 What If It’s Twins?
Yes, indeed! What if she does have twins? With one at home, that makes adjusting from a family off three to a family of five. Not easy! Well, pretty much the same rules apply as previously mentioned, only with twins due to the intensity of the pregnancy, birth and after care, she will need help around the clock from family, friends and possibly professionals. It’s important to get that all under control before the babies come. It’s also good to get in touch through her hospital with other Moms of multiples to ask their advice on how to cope through all the new challenges. Something for Mom to consider is also her chances of having twins increases with fertility treatments. There are lots of questions she and her partner need to ask themselves and budget for.
7 It's Dangerous To Lose Weight While Pregnant
Another thing that can be dangerous is losing weight while pregnant, or at least doing it without medical supervision. While most Moms planning for another baby will make sure they are at their ideal weight, sometimes surprise pregnancies happen. If this is the case and Mom may be a little heavier, is dieting recommended? Well, first of all, she needs to check with her OB/GYN to see what her ideal weight range should be, before and while pregnant. If they feel for her safety and her future baby’s safety that shedding a few pounds is for the greater benefit of both, they may recommend losing weight by light exercise and watching what she eats. She will, of course, be followed by her doctor and supervised for hers and her baby’s safety.
6 Is Abortion Safe After Giving Birth?
This is a controversial issue for sure. While some studies have pointed out that there is an increased risk to future pregnancies after just one abortion, new research is pointing to the fact that medically induced abortions are actually safer and carry less risk to Mom than giving birth. Now this all depends too, of course, on Mom’s health history and how soon she has become pregnant since her last pregnancy. Bringing a baby into the world is a very difficult decision to make, particularly if the baby was not expected and there are health concerns. Each woman has to look at her situation, her family and make the best decision possible for her life. She can also speak frankly to her medical team and have access to whatever medical information she needs to make her decision.
5 Mom And Dad's Relationship Will Be Strained
There are a lot of articles that point out how children bring couples closer together. Equally, there are articles that espouse the opposite, stating that children can cause problems in relationships and ultimately bring less happiness. In most cases, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, there will be issues to tackle for the couple, even if they are already parents. After all, now there is just one child to care for. When that child is napping, at an activity or at the grandparents’ house, Mom and Dad can still connect. Mom and Dad can each also have a “parent break” while the other parent takes over. All of this will give them more energy for their relationship. Again, the best thing couples can do when thinking of having another child is to talk honestly about what they need to do to support each other as parents and as a couple.
4 PPD Becomes A Scary Reality
If she has experienced postpartum depression after a previous birth, her chances are very strong of it coming back. She will need to prepare with discussions about it, counselling and possibly medication. If she did not experience postpartum depression with her first pregnancy, but suffers from depression, anxiety and has a lot of stress in her life that is hard to manage, she is also at risk for becoming depressed postpartum. This is when it is crucial for her to manage her stress and anxiety about getting pregnant, during pregnancy and afterwards. If she is experiencing difficulty managing her feelings, there should be no shame and guilt to seek help for herself. As the saying goes, "You can’t drink from a dry well.” If she is not healthy, she cannot take care of her baby and enjoy life.
3 It Will Take A Physical Toll If She's Older
No matter what age a woman is, her body will need some extra recovery time with another pregnancy, labor and birth. The healing may take a little longer, as there has been more stretching, strain on organs and body parts, and inevitably, she will be older. It is important that she takes this into account, and does her best to stay healthy, rest when she can, and follow up in between with good prenatal care. If she has any questions, she should not hesitate to ask them at any appointments and even in between appointments. Her health and that of her future child (as well as the child already with her), all depend on her taking good care of herself before and during pregnancy.
2 Finding Support Will Be Challenging
This applies especially to multiple births, but even if it is a single birth that was not planned or Mom is having a hard time for various reasons, looking into hiring an au pair, mother’s helper or even a nanny if the family can afford it, may save everyone’s sanity. As a Mom, she needs to be supported, feel strong and feel healthy in order to do her job right. There is nothing wrong with asking for help with childcare. In other countries, women are surrounded by family for the first month after giving birth and are tremendously supported and given time to rest. It’s important for all women to have backup at home (should they need it) to help them and their children thrive. Family and friends may be very willing to help, but afraid to intrude.
1 It's All A Matter Of Timing
Finally, regardless of how or what age she got pregnant at again (or is thinking of getting pregnant), she needs to be sure that she is pacing herself mentally, physically and spiritually in a positive way in her life. This means she is eating, sleeping and exercising enough. She is taking time for self-care by going out with her partner, her friends and alone from time to time so she does not burnout. She is putting herself at the top of the priority list. She is full of energy, happiness and love for her family because she is nurturing herself with love all the way through. They will all sense the difference in her as she will in herself. If she is happy and balanced, she will teach her children to be the same way.
So, after reading this list, a woman can get a rundown for one of the most life-changing events there is, motherhood for the second time. And with it, she can continue to learn and grow, seeing how each child she has will bring out another side of her.
Sources: Pregnancy, The Healthsite, The Healthsite, The Bump, Caring For Kids, Healthland, Everyday Health, BabyCenter, Parents, Fit Pregnancy