7 Ways A Second Pregnancy Is Different To The First

7 Ways A Second Pregnancy Is Different To The First

Depending on your experience of pregnancy, the idea of doing it all over again will either fill you with tears of joy or an unrelenting sense of dread.

Despite knowing that your next pregnancy could be completely different to the first, you will probably still find yourself imagining everything being exactly the same.

It’s only natural, of course, to draw from your personal experience. But you’ll probably discover pretty early on that a second pregnancy is not quite the same as the first.

How Second Pregnancies are Different To The First

Here are just 7 ways a second pregnancy is different to (aka way crapper than) your first pregnancy:

#1: Starting To Show

During your first pregnancy, you probably spent hours agonising in the mirror over when your bump was going to make an appearance. You may have even managed to get nearly halfway through the pregnancy before being offered a seat on the train. That was all thanks to your stomach muscles. Remember those?

With a second pregnancy, those muscles are long gone. You’ll probably look about six months pregnant before you’ve even peed on that stick. In fact, there’s no need to buy a pregnancy test in the first place. Your belly will not so discretely let you in on the secret pretty early on. You won’t be able to keep the pregnancy a secret for the first 12 weeks because your newly acquired gargantuan bump will be announcing it to everyone you see. And good luck getting to week 17 without strangers commenting “Oooh, you can’t have long to go, when are you due?” Er, in five months. Thanks.

#2: Due Date – Ha!

You probably spent your entire first pregnancy counting down the days until your due date. Why? Because that was the exact date your baby would arrive, right? You always knew exactly how many weeks and days you had left to go because you spent most of your waking hours determinedly awaiting your due date. And when the day itself came, you spent it angrily waiting for labour to start.

By the time you’re onto your second pregnancy, you know that a due date is simply a random date plucked out of your sonographer’s butt. It has no bearing on when your baby will arrive. The second pregnancy will be much easier because you’ll expect the baby to arrive ‘sometime in August’ rather than fixating on a single day that will almost certainly come and go with no baby. To be honest, you probably won’t even be able to remember that estimated due date half the time. After all, what’s the point?

#3: The Reaction

As soon as you announce your first pregnancy, you’ll begin to feel like a celebrity. Everyone wants to know how you’re feeling every single day of the nine months of pregnancy. You’ll receive countless texts each day enquiring as to your health. People will want to be kept updated about your midwife appointments, birth plan and whether or not you’ve felt any twinges. Your first pregnancy is as exciting for those around you as it is for you.

Then comes the second pregnancy. You might get a few congratulations, but that element of shock is gone. A second baby isn’t really as surprising as a first. And people probably won’t ask how you are all the time, because they know you’ve survived pregnancy before. Even your best friend won’t remember when your due date is (which is fine, because neither will you). The reaction from friends and family will certainly feel a little less enthusiastic the second time around.

#4: The Tiredness

First pregnancies are exhausting. Remember how you used to spend all day at work only to fall asleep on the sofa as soon as you arrived home? You usually managed to wake up just in time for dinner only to go to bed straight after in a desperate attempt to fight the tiredness. Man, you slept so much.

Fast forward to a second pregnancy and with an older child in the house, sleep is well and truly a thing of the past. Your sleep debt is huge and you have zero chance of getting rid of it until your kid goes to university. Thanks to the pregnancy and life, you’re exhausted all of the time, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting any extra sleep. Your older child still wakes you in the night, there isn’t a spare hour in your day to grab a nap and there’s very little chance of you managing a lie-in anytime soon. So, yeah, you’re tired. Like, really tired.

#5: Pamper Time

During your first pregnancy, you probably looked after yourself as though you were a delicate princess made of little more than marshmallow and glass. You relaxed during monthly massages, weekly prenatal yoga sessions and daily baths. You didn’t lift anything that weighed more than a feather (and, to be perfectly honest, you didn’t lift many feathers either). You drank eight glasses of water a day, ate (or tried to) a purely organic diet free from junk food, and slept for at least 10 hours a day on a bed made from clouds.

That’s not what a second pregnancy is like. There will be no luxurious massages, unless you count the sticky toddler fingers prodding you in the back all night. There will be no yoga, this time you will get your exercise by chasing your child around the house, picking up toys 24 hours a day and wrestling your child into bed at night. You’ll get baths, but there won’t be any candles. This time you’ll be surrounded by brightly coloured bath toys and there is a good chance your kid will come in to have a crap whilst you’re trying to relax in the bath.

#6: Things To Buy

As soon as you found out you were expecting your first child, you started researching for the shopping list to end all shopping lists. Every purchase was fully researched before any decisions were made. Even if a product looked perfect and amazing, a negative online review was enough to send you running back to the drawing board. Your baby was only to have the very best. You spent an absolute fortune making sure you had every baby product on the market.

With a second baby, you’re far more relaxed. For a start, you know that half the things you bought last time turned out to be a complete waste of money. Most of those baby products are completely useless and you definitely won’t be bothering with them this time around. Plus, you probably already have loads of things in the loft. You might even get round to checking one day. When you have time.

#7: General Geekery

You could have passed a degree in pregnancy, birth and babies during your first pregnancy. You read every book you could find, signed up for all the email newsletters and couldn’t stop asking friends and family for advice. You attended prenatal classes, breastfeeding classes and baby first aid courses. You spent all of your time trying to learn everything there was about being a mama. Motherhood was your specialist subject and you would have passed with top marks.

You won’t be quite so prepared for baby number two. Of course, you’ve done it all before so that should make things a little easier this time around. But, it’s fair to say that the newborn days are a hazy memory and there’s a pretty good chance you’ve forgotten everything about looking after tiny babies. You know this, but it’s ok, you’re pretty good at winging it now.

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Fiona Peacock is a writer, researcher and lover of all things to do with pregnancy, birth and motherhood (apart from the lack of sleep). She is a home birth advocate, passionate about gentle parenting and is also really tired.


  1. Try number 4!! “She’ll be right!” and “how many weeks? Ummm.. I dunno” are about my 2 most common phrases and I keep making jokes with hubby about Bub being born on the bathroom floor! He actually had to catch while I was standing up last time, (male midwife left me with a student while he went off somewhere…) but at least we were at the hospital…

  2. Wow mine was the opposite my first pregnancy I was energized like going out having lunch with my friends and family going to the mall always being out and about but didn’t go all out I look like I was pregnant when I was at least two months and I looked like I was having twins when I really wasn’t but as far as the second pregnancy I’m always tired want to sleep a lot more have bad headaches sore muscles morning sickness and with my first I didn’t have morning sickness I did have weird cravings but not with this one has anybody had what I am experiencing

    1. Yes, yes, and yes!! I had a fairly “easy” first pregnancy, and this second one is sending me for a loop..migraines (which I have never had before) exhaustion, and it doesn’t help that I have a 6 month old :/ good bye sleep, forver

  3. I agree complete! My first pregnancy i didn’t show until at least 5 months, even managing to hide my belly with a loose dress at nearly full term. ‘Morning’ sickness was horrible, I threw up every morning and every night, slept a lot, didn’t cooking between 8 and 20 weeks due to nausea (luckily I have a beautiful husband who did it all).
    This time around I started off 6/7kgs lighter but am already noticeably showing at almost 12 weeks. I’m exhausted but no time for extra sleep with an 11 month old child. I’ve only thrown up a handful of times because I don’t get to eat all my breakfast (daughter likes to ‘help’ me finish it) and only eat a small amount of dinner so rarely sick then as well. I just don’t have time to focus on my problems so I make sure they aren’t there!

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