If you follow celebrity news, you are probably aware that Chrissy Teigen recently announced her second pregnancy!
She also just turned 32 on November 30, and is writing her second cookbook! She is married to John Legend who is from Springfield, Ohio, and they recently enjoyed some Jeni’s Ice Cream with their first daughter, Luna, in Columbus. Those of us from Ohio were excited! Any other major Chrissy Teigen fans out there?!
I thought I would take this opportunity to address one of Chrissy’s concerns (and a very common concern for my patients), as well as general information about “the second pregnancy” (or any subsequent pregnancy after the first).
A lot of my patients feel like their body is changing faster, and they start showing sooner in the second pregnancy than the first. It is important to keep in mind that all pregnancies are different and unique. So in general, you should be ready for new challenges and changes with each pregnancy. You may have a better or worse experience with morning sickness and heartburn, and notice that your baby moves in different patterns, or feels lower in your pelvis earlier in the pregnancy.
Some Common Second Pregnancy Changes
- You may start showing earlier. This has to do with the changes that happened to your body during the last pregnancy, specifically changes to your abdominal wall and muscles. The layers of your abdominal wall get stretched as your uterus grows. Some women experience something called a diastasis recti, which is a separation of your abdominal muscles (to make room for the uterus and baby). This can contribute to a change in appearance of your abs after delivery, and also during subsequent pregnancies. Showing earlier in pregnancy does not mean you are in poor physical condition, or have gained more weight than the previous pregnancy. It is just a side effect of the abdominal wall and muscles which have been stretched previously.
- You will probably notice the baby’s movements earlier in the pregnancy.
- You may feel more fatigue, have a change in your starting weight or total weight gain. These changes are related to your responsibilities as a mom. Because you are taking care of your first (or more than one) child, you will likely not have as much time to rest, nap, or exercise. And will have extra stress on your body from lifting and taking care of your first child.
- Your cervix may be dilated earlier and you may start feeling contractions earlier. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will go into labor sooner or have a pre-term delivery. But it does help with a headstart and an overall faster labor process which is good news!
- If your last delivery was a vaginal delivery, you will likely have a quicker labor and also pushing and delivery than your first. It is pretty magical how a woman’s body remembers, and may only require several minutes of pushing (rather than hours) for a vaginal delivery.
- If your last pregnancy was complicated by medical problems like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, or preterm delivery, you are at a higher risk of the complication in subsequent pregnancies.
- Discomforts, pains, and cosmetic changes will likely return if you had them in the first pregnancy. This includes back pain, constipation, frequent urination, varicose veins, and stretch marks.
Things to Do to Help Prevent Problems in your Second Pregnancy
- Exercise regularly! I plan to do a separate post about this soon, but try to get 20-30 minutes most days of the week to stay in shape. This will help with your delivery and postpartum recovery. Core exercises for your abs and back can help prevent or improve back pain.
- Make dietary changes, increase hydration and fiber intake, take a stool softener if needed to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
- Wear compression stockings if swelling or varicose veins are a problem. You can get a prescription from your doctor and do a fitting at a pharmacy or order online from amazon or other stores without a prescription.
- Inform your ob/gyn of prior pregnancy and delivery complications:
- Previous gestational diabetes requires earlier testing in future pregnancies.
- Women with pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy are treated with daily aspirin to help prevent pre-eclampsia with the current pregnancy.
- Women with a preterm delivery are often treated with progesterone to help decrease the risk of preterm delivery with the current pregnancy.
- History of shoulder dystocia- if your baby’s shoulders got stuck after the head came out, you are at risk for this happening again and may need an ultrasound in the third trimester and counseling about delivery planning and timing.
- History of severe vaginal laceration- if you had a bad tear (third or fourth degree which affects the muscles that control bowel movements) your ob/gyn may discuss delivery planning with you and offer c-section depending on your previous complications and wishes.
- History of c-section- your doctor will need to know why you had the c-section, and optimally will review the operative report to get all the details and determine if it is safe for you to have a vaginal delivery if desired.
By Loriana Soma, M.D. - Expert OB/GYN