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What wonderful news! You’ve embarked on your second pregnancy, and this time around you know exactly what’s in store.

Or do you? Here’s what you need to know about how your second pregnancy may resemble — or differ from — your first.

Remember those early pregnancy symptoms that you thought you felt but weren’t sure were the real thing? Yup, we’re talking about (you guessed it — ugh) morning sickness, fatigue, and the rest of the gig.

The second time around, now that you’re familiar with the signs, you may find that you can spot them even earlier.

Morning sickness

Experience whispers that the queasy feeling you’re sensing is more than something you ate. Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) happens in up to 70 to 80 percent of pregnancies. Blame morning sickness on serotonin, a hormone that may cause nausea and vomiting.

Breast tenderness

It’s only 1 to 2 weeks after conception, and you’re feeling that familiar pain again — your breasts are tender and even hypersensitive. It’s those soaring pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone again.

Food cravings

You have a legitimate reason to demand a hamburger at 2 a.m. Food cravings are a real thing. With this being familiar territory, you may find it easier to pinpoint exactly what you’re craving. Spoil yourself occasionally — your body is working hard!


Being pregnant can feel like a full-time job. This is especially the case during the first couple of months when you may feel so exhausted that if you don’t lie down right now, you’ll fall down.

However, finding time to rest when you share your home with a miniature busybody who hasn’t yet learned that they’re not the center of the world can seem impossible. Don’t forget to take your doctor-recommended vitamins and supplements to give your body that extra boost.

Bathroom visits

It’s easier to deal with frequent urination the second time around, as you’ve already mapped the location of every public restroom in your area. Blame the increased bathroom visits on your kidneys’ increased filtration rates (thanks pregnancy hormones!). They’re working hard to rid your body of extra waste.

Mood swings

It’s your prerogative to change your mind. What made you happy 5 minutes ago may not work now. And it’s not surprising, as your body is flooded with hormones.

During your second time around, your body has already learned to work with all of the pregnancy challenges, so some things may be different. That said, whether they’ll be easier to deal with may be another story.

The symptoms you remember from your first pregnancy seem more intense this time. You might have only felt nausea in passing during your first pregnancy, but now you may find yourself running to the bathroom to vomit from the slightest whiff of a particular scent.

On the other hand, being super busy with a toddler means that you may find it impossible to dwell on your symptoms. In fact, the weeks may fly by without much consideration of all the changes.

Morning sickness

Yes, here it is again. Some women find that the morning sickness they dreaded just never shows up (yay!) or gets worse (sigh). Fortunately, you know about saltine crackers now.

Breast changes

The breast tenderness and heaviness that you felt during your first pregnancy may not seem as pronounced this time around. Since your body has prepared for breastfeeding once before, you may experience fewer changes to your breasts.

Best of all, you’re probably already equipped with the right bras and know what works for you bra-wise. Nursing bras while pregnant? Pregnancy sleep bras? You’re prepared.

Baby bump

It’s true — in your second pregnancy, you may show earlier than you did in the first.

This happens because your first pregnancy loosened the muscles of your abdomen and uterus. Weaker muscles mean it’s easier for that baby bump to pop out. For the same reason, your bump may be bigger this time around.

Your baby’s first moves

You may be able to feel your baby moving earlier this time around, and it’s most likely not because you’re carrying a soccer player. As an experienced parent, you know that the delicious fluttering isn’t gas or hunger pains but instead those first moves.

More aches and pains

Relaxin, one of the hormones produced by your ovaries and placenta, has multiple tasks. These include relaxing the ligaments in the pelvis and softening and widening the cervix. With looser ligaments all around, you may experience more back pain.

Shorter labor

This one wins hands down. The uterus and cervix have been through this before, so labor is generally shorter for second-time moms. While first births take an average of 12 to 18 hours, subsequent births clock in at 8 to 10 hours.

Your body is following a blueprint for making a tiny human being. While each pregnancy is its own story, many of the steps will likely be similar for all pregnancies. Here are some potentially recognizable symptoms that are likely to pop up again in your second pregnancy.

Bleeding gums

It’s common for gums to become swollen and sensitive and bleed more easily during pregnancy. Those pregnancy hormones are hard at work here, too!

The added sensitivity, which your dentist calls pregnancy gingivitis, usually begins sometime during your second trimester and peaks during the third trimester.

If you didn’t take care of your bleeding gums during your first pregnancy, do so now. Pronto. Gingivitis could progress to periodontal disease, an infection of the gums and surrounding bone that can lead to loosening teeth and bone loss.

High blood pressure

If you had high blood pressure in your first pregnancy, it’s advisable to monitor your blood pressure this time around. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mm Hg, your OB-GYN will speak to you about how to manage it.


Preeclampsia is a blood pressure disorder that usually occurs in the second or third trimester. It’s pretty uncommon, affecting about 3 to 5 percent of pregnancies, but if you had it previously, your OB-GYN will handle you with extra care.

Gestational diabetes

Ditto for gestational diabetes, which is estimated to affect 5 percent of pregnancies.

Premature birth

Recent research has shown that 1 in 10 babies was born too early in the United States. Since the risk of premature birth rises in subsequent pregnancies, your OB-GYN will guide you on reducing the risk.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression affects about 10 to 15 percent of adult mothers annually.

Know that if you dealt with this condition the first time around, you’re more likely to find yourself facing it again. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. You are not alone, and treatments are available.

Given that you’re already a parent, you probably have less time to think about your needs. Here are some general tips for self-care during your second pregnancy.

  • Make time to rest. If a midday nap sounds like mission impossible, try getting to bed an hour earlier.
  • Eat well; drink plenty.
  • Keep up on your prenatal visits. Taking care of yourself means you’ll be able to take better care of your children.
  • Document your pregnancy. This is a trip that you want pictures of, and life is only going to get busier.
  • Remember to have date nights with your partner. You’ll both benefit from reminding yourselves of your shared goals.
  • Carve out one-on-one time with your firstborn so they can get the attention and affection they need and deserve.

The best part of a second pregnancy is the comfort of familiarity. You (mostly) know what this is all about.

Of course, each pregnancy is unique, and you may experience brand new symptoms. So take the time to enjoy the parts you’re happy to experience again, and take good care of yourself to treat the not-so-fun symptoms.