No two pregnancies are alike. Your pregnancy symptoms probably won’t match your friend’s or your sister’s, and this is true of your own too. Your second pregnancy might feel surprisingly different to your first.
While there’s no way of knowing exactly how you’ll feel the second time, here’s a rundown of typical second pregnancy symptoms.
What’s the same, what’s different, and what you can expect as you prepare to welcome the new member of your family.
In this article 📝
- Firstly: if you’re pregnant with your rainbow baby
- Second pregnancy symptoms: what to expect
- Surprising second pregnancy symptoms
- Why are the signs of second pregnancy different?
Firstly: if you’re pregnant with your rainbow baby
We know that even if you’ve been pregnant before, this baby might be the first one that you’ll be able to bring home.
Pregnancy after you’ve experienced a loss can be a really tough nine months. It’s okay to track every symptom.
It’s okay to be reluctant to get excited. It’s okay to look forward to your new baby while still missing your first.
And while second pregnancy symptoms can be different, they’re usually no indication of how healthy your growing baby is going to be.
There are other mamas-to-be in the Peanut community expecting their rainbow babies, and we’d also recommend asking your doctor about groups in your local area if you’d like to meet other women IRL who are going through the same thing.
Sometimes, you just need someone who’s been there and can listen.
Second pregnancy symptoms: what to expect
Some second pregnancy symptoms feel different because your body has been here before.
You might show earlier
Do second pregnancy symptoms start earlier? Not always, except for when you start to “show”.
Your abs have already stretched once, and your uterus probably hasn’t shrunk back to the size it was before your first little peanut moved in.
So, while second babies don’t grow any faster than their older siblings, your muscles aren’t quite as strong and it’s harder for them to hold everything in.
When do you start showing with your second pregnancy? If you take early pregnancy bloating into account, your second pregnancy bump might be obvious well before twelve weeks.
You might be more tired
If you already have a young child, you’re probably pretty tired even before the exhaustion of pregnancy hits.
This doesn’t mean you can’t rest up, though, just that you have to be more organized about it – schedule time for yourself, ask for support, keep up with your prenatal vitamins, even book a babysitter for the afternoon if you have to.
You might feel movement earlier
If you’ve already felt one baby move, you’re more likely to recognize what it feels like the second time.
One thing to remember though: If you felt your first baby move at 20 weeks, you don’t need to panic if you haven’t felt your second by 18.
If your placenta is in a different place this time, it might just be harder to feel your (still very tiny) baby wriggling around.
You’re more likely to feel Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor
Again, this one is a case of ‘been there, done that’.
If your body already knows what labor feels like, you’re more likely to notice “practice” contractions, instead of dismissing them as a weird cramp, indigestion, or the baby moving.
All these differences between first and second pregnancies make sense. It’s easy to explain them because it’s so much to do with what your body has been through before.
But second pregnancies can throw you some curveball symptoms too. Let’s take a look.
Surprising second pregnancy symptoms
Maybe you barely felt sick with your first, and now you’re struggling to eat breakfast.
Maybe you threw up every day with your first, and your stomach feels unnervingly calm this time around.
We don’t really know why this is different (because we still don’t completely understand what causes pregnancy sickness in the first place), but one thing is certain: it is very common to experience pregnancy nausea the second time, even if you didn’t the first time around, or vice versa.
The exception to this is the more severe brand of pregnancy nausea, known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).
If you had to deal with this nasty symptom the first time, there is a chance it could re-rear its ugly head.
The intensity of nausea you feel has nothing to do with how healthy your pregnancy is, but remember, with any nausea, no matter which pregnancy, rest and get support. Call your doctor if you need to.
This one can be difficult to deal with. Even if your first pregnancy was really uneventful, you can develop a condition like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or pelvic girdle pain when it’s your second time stepping up to the plate. Even HG can start the second time.
Likewise, if you did have to deal with any of these conditions the first time, your doctors will likely do extra tests during your second pregnancy.
If you’re lucky, it might be that these complications don’t develop at all, or that they can be managed much better this time around.
Aches and pains
It sucks, but your body is much more likely to complain the second time that it carries a baby.
The hormone relaxin, which relaxes your muscles and tendons as your uterus grows, is thought to work more effectively when your ligaments have already stretched, so symptoms like round ligament pain and hip and backache? They’ll likely be returning too.
As well as this, you’ll probably carry your baby lower in your abdomen, which puts more pressure on your pelvis and can lead to more pain.
Why are the signs of second pregnancy different?
Because you and your little one are unique and your life and body are just different now.
There’s never any way of knowing how pregnancy is going to pan out (and, spoiler alert, the same thing goes for your little one’s interests, personality, and personal taste in adventures once they’re here).
But the second pregnancy can be great in many ways.
You might have learned what works for you the first time around.
Maybe there’s a certain snack that gets rid of nausea, a favorite pregnancy pillow or workout, or you’ve already got a family routine that lets you get the rest you need.
Knowledge is power, and you’ve probably picked up some tips and tricks along the way.
Finally, what if your second pregnancy signs mean something else is different, too?
Some people associate different pregnancy symptoms with different sexes (or even different numbers of babies).
So if you already have a little boy and your pregnancy feels different this time, he might be getting a little sister.
If this is something you’re looking out for, take a look at some of these old wives’ tales.
- Carrying low = boy. Carrying high = girl.
- Bigger right boob = boy. Bigger left boob = girl.
- Craving protein and salt = boy. Craving sweets = girl.
- We like this one less, but apparently, if your skin and hair are looking lush, it’s a boy. If you look as tired as you feel, it’s a girl.
- And finally, worse nausea is said to mean a girl. If your sickness is really severe though, you might be having twins.
We’re pretty sure that there’s no science to back them up, but it’s always fun to guess.
If there are aspects of your second pregnancy that you are struggling with, or just want to chat things over with other mamas, there’s a world of us in the Peanut community.