12 Differences Between Your First Pregnancy and Your Second Pregnancy

There is something about a first pregnancy that is just sort of magical. It’s just you and your baby and nine months to form a special bond. You read all the books and spend hours upon hours daydreaming of what your little one will look like or be like. You are filled with an anticipation that will likely remain unmatched for the rest of your life.

And then you do it again … finding yourself knocked up a second time and things are noticeably different. It’s not necessarily a “bad” type of different, just different.

Knowing this, I was curious to pinpoint just what exactly it is that makes a second pregnancy so different, and I’ve come up with a pretty good list. I’m curious if other people will find these to be accurate. Are there any you think I missed?

1. Education

First Pregnancy: Reading ALL the books

When I was pregnant with my daughter I read everything about pregnancy and birth that I could possibly get my hands on. If it were remotely related to pregnancy I’d read it: books, blogs, message boards … I was voracious in my appetite to learn as much as humanly possible about what was going on in my body and what was going to happen during birth.

Second Pregnancy: Reading zero books

Unless reading 8,000,000 picture books to my toddler every day counts, then yeah … totally haven’t read a single book. I have read a couple of blogs, but that’s about it. Part of this is because I just don’t have that much time to read in general (I’ve read one actual book in the past two years since my daughter was born), but the other part is because I just don’t feel the need to have as much knowledge … plus I already remember the basics. Perhaps I’ll pick up a birthing book to jog my memory before the time comes, but let’s be honest … even that probably isn’t going to happen.

2. Food Choices

First Pregnancy: Eating as healthy as humanly possible and avoiding all the foods on the “no” list

My first pregnancy (at least for the first half before I gained a million pounds and sort of gave up for awhile) I was religious about getting enough water and eating healthy foods. I’ve never been a veggies fan, but I still tried to choke them down as often as possible. I also never ate frozen yogurt or lunch meat or sushi or over easy eggs or soft cheese. I basically didn’t eat anything on the “no” list which is SO many things.

Second Pregnancy: “Gee! I could really go for a sushi and cold cut sandwich right now … maybe with an over-easy egg on top!”

OK, so I didn’t really eat a sushi and cold cut sandwich, but I did eat lunch meat. And I’ve had coffee … and over-easy eggs and frozen yogurt. I haven’t had sushi, but only because my husband doesn’t really like it, so I don’t have the opportunity to eat it often. But tuna? While I definitely eat it sparingly, I’m not crazy counting the days in between tuna sandwiches. It’s been my one real craving this pregnancy, so I’ve definitely eaten a decent amount. I also realized that most soft cheeses in the U.S. are actually pasteurized, so I’ve had my fair share of that too.

3. Pregnancy Awareness

First Pregnancy: You think about being pregnant all the time

When I was pregnant with my daughter, pregnancy talk and pregnancy thoughts consumed me. I thought about being pregnant pretty much non-stop and I talked about it incessantly. My poor co-workers probably wanted to punch me in the face after having to feign interest in water birth and baby carriers for nine whole months.

Second Pregnancy: “Oh yeah … I guess I’m still pregnant.”

Honestly, I forget I’m pregnant half the time with baby number two. The only time I really remember is when I get sharp shooting pains after getting up from the couch or when I take my daily prenatal vitamin or when I’m stupid enough to go stand on a scale. I’m working from home and chasing after a toddler, so I don’t really have as much time to sit around and just think about being pregnant. Sometimes I wish I did, but overall this definitely makes the second pregnancy go by a lot more quickly.

4. Announcements

First Pregnancy: Clever gender reveal

We had a big gender reveal party — complete with homemade food and decor — to find out the sex of our daughter when I was pregnant the first time.

Second Pregnancy: Basic Facebook announcement

This time around there was no big gender reveal to-do. I think I did a blog post, but only because I’m a blogger and that’s what we do. I can’t even remember now, but if I weren’t a blogger? It would’ve probably just been a basic Facebook announcement like, Oh hey guys. We’re having a boy!” Funny how different it can be.

5. Excitement Level

First Pregnancy: People are SO excited!

With your first pregnancy people freak out with excitement — especially the future grandparents. You’re creating the miracle of life inside of you and apparently that is worthy of being seriously fawned over. People want to talk about it all the time.

Second Pregnancy: “Oh … you’re knocked up again?”

It’s not that people aren’t happy for you when you’re having a second baby… they are. It’s just not the same though. The excitement level is much more subdued and people don’t ask about it as much. It’s fine, because you also aren’t thinking about your pregnancy as much the second time, but it’s definitely a different feeling.

6. Maternity Style

First Pregnancy: Cute maternity dresses, heels, and overall stylishness

With my first pregnancy I made a concerted effort to be a cute pregnant lady (at least until around month eight when all bets are off). I wore cute dresses and accessorized and did my hair and makeup. I even wore heels for the majority of my pregnancy!

Second Pregnancy: Heels? Hahahahaha!

I cannot even fathom wearing heels right now. The last time I wore heels was to my husband’s work Christmas party — and now it’s April. The fact is, heels just aren’t very practical right now while I’m balancing a pregnant belly and a toddler on my hip. Not the safest. Also, while I refuse to succumb to sweats or yoga pants during my pregnancy, my maternity style this time around has been far more “casual.” I have my comfy maternity go-tos that are in regular rotation, and I don’t really get all that creative these days. Honestly, I’m just thankful to make it out of the house with my toddler and two matching shoes most days.

7. Expectations

First Pregnancy: Sweet, sweet naivety

It’s not like I had illusions that parenting would be “easy” per say, but I really had no clue just how challenging it might be at times. I didn’t even think about postpartum healing or sleep issues or any of that. My thoughts were mostly consumed with visions of dressing up my little girl in adorable outfits and snuggling together on our vintage rocker.

Second Pregnancy: Cold, hard reality

After actually having a child once before, I know how hard pregnancy/birth/postpartum/parenting can be. Newborns are tiny and sweet, but they don’t always feel tiny and sweet when they’re barreling out of your vageen at a million miles an hour, and postpartum healing and hormones are most definitely not sweet. The lack of sleep is pretty hellish and breastfeeding is definitely a little less “natural” than I once thought. All that said, at least this time around I know that it’s worth it and that it doesn’t last forever.

8. Pregnancy Knowledge

First Pregnancy: Knowing what size fruit your baby is at all times

I remember getting e-mail updates and knowing all about what was happening with my baby developmentally at any given time as well as what size fruit she was. First pregnancies are full of helpful information like that.

Second Pregnancy: Not even remembering how many weeks pregnant you are half the time

No joke: I seriously had to look up how many months pregnant I was yesterday. My husband is actually pretty good at looking up our baby’s weekly development and relaying the information to me, but I haven’t checked a single time during this pregnancy. I did just look it up out of curiosity though and apparently my baby is the size of a coconut this week. Good to know.

9. Documentation

First Pregnancy: Cutesy belly bump photos

The first time around I took a ton of “bumpdate” photos to document the beauty of pregnancy.

Second Pregnancy: “Why would I want photo evidence of this?”

This time around I did have maternity photos taken, which I really loved, but aside from that I only have a couple of photos of my baby bump. If I weren’t a blogger I’m pretty sure I’d have none though.

10. Body Shape

First Pregnancy: Cute, round, little baby belly

My first time pregnant belly was so cute and round!

Second Pregnancy: Slightly less cute, slightly more droopy baby belly

After already growing a baby once? Well, let’s just say things are a little less cute and round and a little more droopy. This is probably part of the reason for less bump photos.

11. Fears

First Pregnancy: Worrying about everything

I WebMD’d my pregnancy ailments like it was my job with baby number one. Weird rash? Oh, no big deal… I’m probably just dying. I worried about what shampoo I used and the lipstick I wore and was hyper vigilant about not touching receipts or eating food out of cans (beware the BPA!).

Second Pregnancy: Letting Go

While I still try to be generally healthy and buy products that are chemical-free, I don’t stress out about it. Using that hotel shampoo just this once isn’t going to kill me or my baby.

12. Nursery Decor

First Pregnancy: Creating a beautiful nursery

I agonized over creating my daughter’s nursery and spent quite a bit of time making it just right with well chosen items and DIY projects.

Second Pregnancy: Realizing babies don’t really care about nurseries

Baby number two doesn’t even have a nursery yet and he probably won’t for awhile. I learned pretty quickly that babies don’t really care about fancy nurseries (go figure). Now toddlers? They’re much more into having a pretty space, so I’m all about that, but Baby Brother will probably have a pretty simple and straightforward space for a little while until the toddler years. 

{Photo by Coeur de La Photography}

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