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Published on April 30, 2015

Ready for Baby Number Two?

SIOUX FALLS (May 1, 2015) - With baby number one, everything was new: bibs, bottles, crib, sleeping schedule, and the life adjustment. Now, with your toddler in tow, you’re an old pro at this baby thing. Yet when the idea of a second child crosses your mind, are you ready?

While having your first baby opened your eyes to the world of parenting, no pregnancy is the same. “Each and every pregnancy stands alone,” said Molly Uhing, MD, OB/GYN specialist with Avera Medical Group Obstetrics & Gynecology. Symptoms like general malaise or discomfort can change with each pregnancy. However, some issues can return, for example, gestational diabetes has about a 50 percent chance of recurrence. 

“Your second pregnancy is usually better than the first. You tend to be calmer and able to handle the small aches and pains of pregnancy better, now that you have already experienced it once and know that it all usually works out well,” Dr. Uhing said. “The anxiety and worry tend to be better the second time around. However, it does get uncomfortable playing on the floor with a toddler, when you could lie on the couch when you were tired during your first pregnancy.”

Some advance steps can help you start your second pregnancy on a healthy track. Even before you get pregnant, start taking prenatal vitamins and schedule a checkup with your provider.

If your first baby involved a preterm delivery, C-section or other special circumstances, talk with your doctor about minimizing your risks the second time around. For example, there are medications that can reduce the risk for a second preterm delivery such as weekly progesterone injections from 16-20 weeks until 36-37 weeks. Having had a previous C-section doesn’t mean that you will have to have another C-section. “Your physician will want to review the record from your first C-section to determine if you could be a candidate for delivering your second baby vaginally,” Dr. Uhing said.

Additionally, while spacing between children is up to you, it’s best to wait until your body is ready to nurture and develop another child. “A good timeframe from a safety standpoint is 18 months from delivery to delivery to allow your body to heal,” said Dr. Uhing. It’s helpful if you’ve had time to get close to your pre-pregnancy weight.

“The best thing you can do to help you take off pregnancy weight gain is breastfeeding. It burns an extra 500-600 calories a day above and beyond what your body normally uses. Otherwise, watching what you eat and getting started with an exercise program after your first baby is at least 6 weeks old is helpful too,” Dr. Uhing said.

Avoid packaged foods, processed foods and simple carbohydrates. Increase fruits and vegetables and healthy proteins like nuts and lean meats, she advised.

It’s also important to feel mentally and physically ready to be pregnant again. “With your first child you’re 100 percent in, fully invested in that pregnancy,” Dr. Uhing said. “With baby number two you have to juggle both of them.”

When second baby does arrive, stick to a routine as best you can, and give yourself plenty of time to make the adjustment.

Having two young children in the home is a “new normal” that can be a little overwhelming. “Don’t feel like you need to be superwoman,” said Dr. Uhing.

“Get lots of rest,” she advised. “Take naps when both of your children are napping. Continue to exercise to keep your energy levels up, help with weight loss, and get some personal time for yourself.”

Reaching out to family, friends, daycares, schools or your church can help lighten your burden and ease the transition.

“Life goes on, and you just have to find that healthy balance,” Dr. Uhing said.

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