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20 Ways Labor Is Different The Second Time Around

There are very few things in the world that frighten a woman more than the thought of giving birth. If they are a first-time mom, they have no idea what to expect and no one’s advice really means anything because everyone experiences it differently.

Once the big day has come and gone, it is usually just a blip on the radar of life for this new mom. Time goes on, and she may remember that it was painful, but that’s about it. She can’t recall the exact details. So, it is now time for baby number two, and she is reminded of how this story will end, in childbirth.

Even though mom has been through this before, it can be just as momentous, if not more. Mom may feel more scared the second time around because she has had an idea of what was to come. There are a lot of things that are different when it comes to subsequent childbirths, and some of them are not what a lot of people may expect.

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20 False Labour Is Crazy!

The biggest thing to know about going into labour the second time is that your body has done this before, so it has some retention of muscle memory when it comes to giving birth. It also means that it will start practicing earlier than it did with your first. This means there will be a lot more instances of false labour. Braxton hicks’ contractions are common in every pregnancy, but they are more pronounced when it is your second.

There is no shame in going to the hospital if you think you are in labour. A lot of women feel embarrassed to run to the hospital when they think they are in labour, but they are not really sure. The medical staff will always rather you play it safe than sorry.

19 When Labour Starts, You’ll Know

The good news is, when you are truly in labour with your second child you will definitely know. When I was pregnant with my first, I spend about 6 hours in denial that I was feeling contractions. I just thought I had walked too much that day and had pulled a very weird muscle. It is a big guessing game when it is your first, because you have never felt a true contraction before, so you don’t know what to expect.

By the time the second one comes around, you will definitely know that you are feeling a contraction. There will be no doubt about the pains you are feeling and no need to call your mom a million times to double check.

18 A Lot Faster

It is a good thing that mom will know a contraction when she feels it because she may not have a lot of time to get to the hospital. While this may not be true for everyone, or every pregnancy, but subsequent deliveries tend to go faster. A first-time mom may be in labour with her first for days, but she may find that time is cut in half for her next.

That are again thanks to her body knowing what to do, and everything already having been through it once before. One of the worst things about childbirth is how long it is, so it is refreshing to hear that the second childbirth may be shorter than the first.

17 Nothing Is The Same

At the end of the day, nothing is the same. Just like we know that every pregnancy is different, we know that every childbirth is different. Women should not rely on their first childbirth experience telling them much about how their second one will go. It can be discouraging because after mom has gone through childbirth once she feels like she is a warrior and she could do this a million times.

There are women out there who have natural births for the first, or second and then require a C-section for future babies. A lot has to do with how your baby grows as well, if this baby is a lot larger it could require emergency interventions at birth.

16 Don’t Rely On Old Tricks

Hanging off of the last entry, we are going to reiterate that mom cannot rely on what she did with her first delivery to get her through her second. In her first childbirth, maybe she relied heavily on pain medication, so she doesn’t feel the need to prepare to deal with pain for the second because she just assumes, she will get an epidural again.

The next childbirth experience could be incredibly fast, so fast that it doesn’t allow for time when it comes to getting an epidural. This means that mom needs to prepare to do things all natural in the event she ends up in a different situation.

15 Experienced Mom Coming Through

One of the best things about delivering a second baby is that you have done it before. Mom has more confidence in her abilities because she has gone through it before. She has gotten through the contractions, the epidural and the pushing and she has come out on the other side. She knows she can get through it, and she knows what comes at the end of the battle.

It is amazing what confidence can do for a person. Confidence can give someone the strength to get through anything, and childbirth is no different. When you know that you get to meet the newest love of your life, you can push through anything to get to the finish line.

14 Trust Your Body

Another thing that moms can tell themselves when they are getting ready to have their second child is that their body knows what to do. Once your body has gone through it once, it is better prepared to go through it again. It can be compared to exercising, as a person puts their body through different work-outs, it reaches a point where it almost does it automatically. This is because of the muscle memory we discussed earlier.

This is the reason second or third deliveries are generally much easier because their body already knows what to do and it doesn’t have to waste time trying to figure this whole thing out. It knows what the job is, and it remembers what it needs to do to get it done.

13 Some Bad News …

We have talked a lot about the ways second childbirths are easier than the first. How they are usually not as long and not as painful as the first time. However, we have to add in some bad news here. There is one big difference when it comes to second deliveries, and that is that the after-birth recovery is normally worse.

Immediately following delivery, your uterus will start to shrink back to normal size. This starts almost immediately, and the more deliveries a woman has, the worse the after contractions are. This will normally happen while mom is breastfeeding.

12 Emotions May Be Different

We love our children each equally, and it doesn’t matter how many we have, we have enough love for all of them. However, the emotions that we go through when they are born will be different. When your first child is born and will probably be an emotional moment for you and your spouse. There may be tears.

When the second one comes around, a lot of people experience a different sense of emotion. They don’t tend to cry as much because they know what is coming. The reason a lot of people cry the first time around is that the emotions are new and all consuming, and they are not expected. Parents are better prepared to deal with the emotions when it comes to baby #2.

11 Baby May Come Earlier

At the end of the day, babies will come when they are good and ready so there is no way to guarantee your second will come earlier than your first. Some women have early babies for their first and then go past their due date with their second. However, this is not often the case. Women will either deliver around the same time with their second or a bit earlier.

My second baby was born about 5 days before my first child was. I had asked the doctor about when this baby should come, and he had told me that they normally follow a pattern and will normally come around the same time your previous children did. This could also be due to your body knowing what to do and it is already ready to go.

10 Unpredictable

There are exceptions to every rule, but for most women their first delivery is long. It normally takes a while for that baby to come out because the body is going through this for the first time. It is all new. Once the second one comes around, the body kind of knows what to do so the length is unpredictable. When you are in labour with your first, the nurses know that it may take a while for dilation to fully happen.

The second, or third, are a bit less predictable. Women can go from barely dilated to ready to go very quickly. A woman can go from being stuck at 3cm for an hour to suddenly jumping to 8cm. This is drastically different with first labours, where women tend to only dilate about 1cm every hour.

9 Push It

Here is some more good news about delivering your second baby, you probably won’t have to push so long. Pushing a baby out is no easy feat, and it is even harder when a woman is exhausted from dealing with contractions for so long. When it comes time to push, she has very little energy left. For a first-time mom, pushing can last up to 2-3 hours long, a time that feels will never end.

With their second, they notice that the amount of time they spend pushing will be drastically reduced. Their body is already stretched just a little bit, and they probably have had a shorter delivery, so they are not as exhausted as they were with their first.

8 All The Confidence

The experience of having a second child right after your first is an important one to mention. The aftercare and recovery is still a part of the childbirth experience and it can be drastically different from your second child. One of the biggest differences you will find is that you are one confident mommy!

You truly feel like you have control of this situation, you know how to change a diaper and how to swaddle. You feel like a pro at everything mommy-related. With a first child, it can feel surreal at the beginning as you try and navigate being a new parent. With your second, while there still may be some adjustments, you pick it back up very quickly.

7 Maternity Wing: Get Me Out Of There

This can go two different ways. The maternity wing is where you will go to recover, and when you had your first it was heaven. You had lovely nurses there to help you when the baby cried, and you were very scared and sad when it was time to go home. With your second, you may be ready to leave the moment that baby comes out. You feel more confident, so you just want to be at home where you are more comfortable.

Sometimes the hospital stay the second time around is more enjoyable than the first. It can serve as relaxation time if you have a toddler at home.

6 The Nurses Leave You Alone …

No one can deny that the nurses are the real heroes of the hospital. The doctor may make all the big bucks, but it is the nurses who run the show. They are the ones there who are helping mom and baby, and they deserve all the credit in the world. However, if this is mom’s second baby, chances are the nurses will probably leave her alone.

When you have your first baby, the nurses know, and they want to make sure you are comfortable and that you have all of the information you need in order to care for your little one. They may even start to get to be a little too much, but when it comes to your second, they hang a little further back and wait to be called.

5 …And You Leave Them Alone!

On the other side of the nurse coin, mom will find she leaves them alone a lot more as well. When you have your first it may seem like you are pressing that call button a lot, and it is understandable. It is overwhelming having your first child, and there are so many things that have to be learned. By the time your second one comes around you will feel like a pro.

You will only call the nurses if you actually need something, and chances are your need has more to do with your recovery than caring for your baby. Maybe you need some pain meds or have a weird pain in your leg, but you are going to be more likely to call the nurses to help you take care of you.

4 Packing The Hospital Bag For #2

Prepping for delivery with your second is a lot different as well. You have learned from past mistakes and you make sure not to repeat them. With a first child, mom might feel like she has to pack enough for a 7-day getaway in the mountains. During the second, she'll realize that packing light makes things easier during and after because there is less of a mess to clean up.

The second pregnancy will have mom packing the bare minimum and she still might find that will bring things that might never get used. Packing for a delivery is often based on trial and error, so it will only get better as more babies enter the world.

3 Going Home Is Different

So, you had your first baby and it was time to take them home. You got all snuggly with them in the back seat ready to make the journey home. Chances are, with your second, they will have to ride solo back there. A lot of moms don’t ride in the back seat with their second child. This is partly due to the fact that second-time moms tend to not be as worried as first-time moms.

Also, if you have slightly older children already, there are probably a couple of car seats installed already and no one feels like taking those out. The reality when you have more than one kid is that your car will always be full of little children, so you wouldn’t get to sit back there anyway, might as well just stay up front from the beginning.

2 More Comfortable With The Hospital

Unless a couple has moved, most couples use the same hospital or birthing center with all of their children. Unless they had a really bad experience, they just stick with what they know and what they are comfortable with. If you are giving birth at the same place you did your first, you are going to already know your way around the hospital.

You will already know where to go when your water breaks, there is no running around trying to find the rightward. Your partner will also already know exactly where to go to find your snacks, drinks or anything else you may need. The hospital may even just feel like a second home, especially if your children are close together in age.

1 One Way It Is Still The Same!

There is a big stereotype when it comes to having a second child, and we need to end it now. A lot of people think that you are less afraid when it comes to delivering your second child because you have already been through it before. This is not true. Sure, a first-time mom is anxious at the thought of going into labour because she has no idea what to expect, and no baby book will ever prepare you.

However, a second-time mom knows exactly what is coming.  It also doesn’t matter if mom has done it before, because each childbirth experience can be completely different, in a good or bad way.

References: simplelivingmommy.com, thebump.com, whattoexpect.com

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