Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my first kiddo I introduced a series on this blog called “Mommy Mondays” which were all pregnancy and motherhood posts so that I could share the many things that were coming up in pregnancy and the experience, but not overwhelm readers with all things baby. I didn’t know how I was going to handle blogging about this pregnancy. Mostly, I haven’t handled blogging at all this pregnancy until very recently! I still don’t entirely know how my pregnancy will play out here on the blog, except that today (a Monday) I’ve decided to share a bit about my second pregnancy. 

When pregnant the first time around I took photos each week of my growing bump, I had project after project in preparation for the baby’s arrival, and I was soaking in all things baby at the time. This second baby has been a whole other ball game. 

The differences between my first pregnancy and my second pregnancy

I’m now almost rolling into my third trimester of my second pregnancy. This pregnancy, especially in comparison to my first pregnancy, has been… well, rough. I was told that each pregnancy, like each child, can be very different. For me, this has been very true. Some ways that things have been different:

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy
After the birth of my first son. I’m currently pregnant with my second son, and this pregnancy has been a whole new ballgame!

1. I’m less scared about birth, but more scared of those first few weeks and months with baby.

The first time around I was very frightened of the birth experience. I didn’t know what to expect, even though I had read the book cover to cover! I had watched multiple documentaries in preparation. I had taken classes. I’d learned breathing techniques. I had a detailed birth plan. Even with all the preparation, and confidence in my knowledge of what was supposed to happen, I was very scared about the “what could happen” bit of it all. My birth plan didn’t go completely as planned, and it was an incredibly LONG birth, but now that I’ve been through it, I am not as scared this time around. Heck, I made it through that one! What I am really scared about are those first few weeks and months of having the baby home.

Before having my first child I was thrilled by the idea of bringing my little bundle of joy home from the hospital. I would handle any scary thing that birth would throw at me just because I knew in the end, I’d have a cuddly little baby that I’d love more than anything.

Well, the first few months with my first son were very difficult. First, no one told me what to expect in the first few days of postpartum. I didn’t expect the continuous contractions to keep happening or how they would make me feel. I certainly didn’t expect to have a physical and emotional reaction to my baby crying. (Or, lets be honest, ANY baby crying.) Then there was the fact that my first child was a difficult infant. He didn’t sleep. Nursing was difficult. There were health scares. It was hard. I’m wavering a bit now thinking about going through those days again, especially because I will be going back to work much earlier with this kiddo than I did with my first. While I know that I can handle birth and I’ll bring my loved baby home with me, I’m less excited about those first few weeks than I was with the first child.

Finally, I’m scared of getting postpartum depression again. I never want to feel that way again. I’m working with doctors and will be working with counselors in efforts to hopefully avoid going through those months again with this second child, but I also know that it can happen and does happen.

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy
Me at 25 weeks in my second pregnancy. I’ve gained more weight this time around, and I feel that it has made things harder.

2. I’ve gained more weight.

I’ve gained more weight with my second pregnancy than I did my first. I feared that I would have this problem in this pregnancy and what it would mean for my body and my pregnancy. I’m still afraid what it might mean.

There are three major differences between my first pregnancy and my second when it comes to my pregnancy weight gain— my age, my activity level and my resources.

Age: I’m now 4 and half years older than I was with my first pregnancy. Over the past few years my ability to bounce back from weight gain has diminished pretty steadily. (Part of this is due to the discovery that I have hypothyroidism More on that later.) I don’t know that my age has made a huge difference in my weight gain from my first pregnancy to the second, but I do feel that it has made a bit of a difference.

Activity Level: When pregnant with my first child I used public transportation to go to work where I walked for 5 miles a day. I wore a pedometer in those days and averaged 12,000 steps daily. In addition to all of that walking, I would work out three days a week. I worked approximately 30 hours a week and spent most of the rest of the time working on projects, keeping up the house and hitting the gym. I was not fit by normal means, I weighed 191 when I got pregnant with my first child, but I was active in my day to day activities. Now I work at a desk, I commute 2 hours a day by car and I then go straight to work on my computer at home. I rarely have the chance to hit the gym as I am gone approximately 12 hours a day and then work more when home. I probably average around 2,000 steps on a good day nowadays. It isn’t so much that I don’t value fitness. It is more that I value having a roof over my head and am working the best I can within my situation. Can I do better some days? Yes, for sure. The change in activity level is likely the biggest difference in my first pregnancy weight gain to this pregnancy.

Resources: My first pregnancy I was part of a medical study for overweight pregnant women. The study postured the idea that overweight women (women whose BMI put them in the obese category) should not gain the recommended 11-20 lbs of weight and instead shoot for no weight gain at all in pregnancy. I’ve avoided talking about my experience with this study because I do not want people reading about it and thinking that it is healthy to not gain weight at all in pregnancy. The recommended weight gain in a pregnancy is important for the health of the mother and baby. The study was specifically trying to see if overweight women could have a healthy baby while gaining no weight, and if the lack of weight gain could help in preventing many of the weight-related high-risk scenarios in late pregnancy and birth. Nearly all the women in the study (including me) gained weight during their pregnancy. But those participating in the study gained less than those who were in the control group. The study may end up changing weight gain recommendations for obese women in the future, but currently the recommendations are still the same 11 to 20 lbs.

I was in the part of the study that were encouraged to try to not gain any weight during our pregnancy. I was watched by a team of doctors, I received several sonograms to measure my son’s growth, I turned in a weekly food diary of everything I ate to a nutritionist and I received a lot of coaching on food and fitness throughout my first pregnancy. I gained 4 lbs in my first pregnancy and I did avoid the weight-related high-risk pregnancy and birth complications. I’ve gain 7 lbs so far this pregnancy, which is putting me right at the recommended weight gain for obese pregnant women and my doctor is not worried, but it has been hard for me to deal with as I started out heavier with this pregnancy than the last. I feel that it has affected my overall feelings of the pregnancy and my health.

Differences in my health between my first and second pregnancies
Swollen ankles have been a common thread throughout this summer. OUCH.

3. I’ve been much sicker this pregnancy.

I had a few issues with my first pregnancy that are really regular and normal for most pregnancies. Still sucked at the time and people who hadn’t had those fairly normal pregnancy symptoms thought I had it really bad, but overall, pretty regular. This pregnancy I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, had the flu, have had 4 infections, had pre-cancerous skin cells removed in surgery, have fallen twice and had incredibly bad edema and pain when active. It has been a whirlwind and a lot of medical bills to boot. Some is to be blamed on having a toddler at home coupled with the lowered immune system that comes with pregnancy. Some is weight related.

Thankfully, through all of this, the baby has been growing well and doing great in all the tests and utlrasounds. Also, I haven’t had to be hospitalized or had any big labor scares, so I count myself as pretty darn grateful.

The only clothing I've bought my son so far and I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy!
My second son currently has three onesies to wear. Not quite the wardrobe he will need in Mid-November!

4. I’m a lot less prepared this time around, but I also am not worried about it.

I had everything planned and prepped before baby number one came along. Everything was purchased, saved, cleaned, packed and prepped weeks before his arrival. Frozen meals were stacked high in our freezer weeks before his arrival. Random closets were organized just in case I needed to get something from them in a hurry. Heck, his name was picked out years before pregnancy even came into the picture. This pregnancy, even though it too was planned, I am prepared for nothing. I have no name picked out. I have no baby items (we gave away most everything because we weren’t planning on having another child for sure until fairly recently) and haven’t really prepared too much so far. The room isn’t prepped. Our house is basically an unorganized disaster. I have no ideas on what I want to do for birth this time around. And, I have a mountain of things to accomplish at work (and here on the blog) before his arrival.

I also am not worried. Something about doing this the second time around makes it all just a tad less stressful. I know that we will get what we need to have. I know that somehow work and everything else will work itself out. We have started to prepare a bit more as we are hitting the third trimester. I signed up for Honest diaper bundle boxes a few months ago and have already stocked up on diapers and wipes to last us some time. We purchased a larger car and planned for daycare arrangements for when I go back to work. I’ve checked in with my insurance to get a breast pump and plan our financial costs for the birth. There is still a lot to do, think about and purchase. But, for the most part, I’m still not too worried about it. (Check back with me in a few weeks though!)

Reasons I'm more excited about my second pregnancy than I was my first
All the cool moms know Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

5. I think I am even more excited about this little one than I was my first, and partially, it is because of my first.

I was excited for my first son. All that planning and preparing was in my excitement of meeting my first child and all the adventures that we would have. Somehow, I think I’m even more excited about this little guy and I think I owe it to my first son. I know how amazing he is and I know the fun and adventures we have. I am excited about sharing that with a second son. In addition, maybe because I am an older sibling, I am excited to see the relationship between my first and my second grow into a life long (hopefully) friendship. I can’t wait to introduce him to all of the traditions we have. I can’t wait to see his personality develop. I simply can’t wait.

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy
Lots of differences in growing kiddo number two, but one thing remains the same… I’m totally in love.

Overall this pregnancy has not been my favorite of the two. I’ve struggled a lot about him not feeling the love because we aren’t preparing as much or there aren’t as many photos of his mom while pregnant as there were when I was pregnant with his older brother. I’ve struggled with him not feeling as important because I’m choosing to go back to work earlier or because we didn’t have his name picked out for ages like we did his brother. I’ve struggled with health and happiness during this pregnancy. We’ve struggled with money and time this pregnancy. I’ve struggled.

However, I’m already so stinking in love with my unborn little one. I’m ridiculously excited to introduce him to his brother and his father. I can’t wait to see him in the arms of our families and friends. Mainly, I can’t wait to snuggle close with him (as I’ve done a million times with his brother) and sing him a special song that he knows is his song from me.

What was different for you in your second pregnancy compared to your first? Or, if you are a sibling, what things did your parents do for you to make you feel special and appreciated?


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Jenni is a freelance writer and media assistant based in Portland, OR. A Well Crafted Party is a blog about all the little things to celebrate in life. Follow Jenni or A Well Crafted Party with BlogLovin, RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
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  1. Reply

    jenni! thank you for sharing this! i read every word and soaked it all up. i haven’t had a kid yet and have a couple of years before i embark upon that journey, but i definitely am a planner and like to think ahead. this is really really informative and awesome of you to share so many details! i think it’s important to share them with people that have and haven’t had kids because “the more you know.”

    it sounds like this has been a rough go for you, but through it all you still seem to be a powerhouse – an awesome mom, an awesome blogger, and currently working in a full-time job as well. i’m always amazed at what mom’s are able to do – superheroes absolutely!
    kelsey recently posted…Market BloomsMy Profile

  2. Reply

    I love this post! I believe when I am ready to have kids, it will be hard to adjust my expectations. Being childcare provider, sometimes I am over confident in my abilities and ways of handling kids. It will be wake up call for me, I bet!
    You look beautiful on your photos and I am excited to read/see your baby related posts in the future!
    Dijana recently posted…13 Toddler Crafts They Can Do In Less Than 15Minutes!My Profile

    • Pech
    • August 3, 2015

    I admire the honesty and detail you went into your current pregnancy. I’m the oldest of four, with the youngest being a surprise. Even though there is a whole album devoted to me before I turned one while my youngest first full album covered ahem multiple years, there has never been a sense of anyone feeling less loved, even if they were less prepared for or documented. Plus, there’s the multiplier of Sibling love (and mischief and adventures) The struggles are part of his story, as you noted and naturally unique to him and a testament of what an amazing mom you are!
    Pech recently posted…Berry Recipes from The Oregon Berry Festival and New Seasons: Berry Popsicles, Summer Berry and Farro SaladMy Profile

  3. Thank you for being so open and honest about such a personal topic. It is so easy and common for people to present everything as perfect, wonderful and #soblessed. While welcoming a child into the world really is magical there certainly are scary parts. Being open and honest truly is a service!

  4. Reply

    Yes, every pregnancy is different and I’m sorry that this one has been harder than the first. I will say, though, that I was terrified of those first few weeks at home with 2 kids–but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. You can do it!
    Melinda recently posted…July Monthly Wrap-Up / It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? (8/3)My Profile

  5. Reply

    Your poor ankles. 🙂 (It’s a cool photo though lol.) I bet it’s exciting to have one son already and it’s exciting to see how your first does with the role of big brother.
    Aubrie LeGault recently posted…{Food} Moonstruck Savory ChocolatesMy Profile

    • Kira
    • August 3, 2015

    You are going to rock two kids! I gained 40-50 pounds with each kid. The weight basically melted off with the first two and I kind of assumed it would happen this time with Flora as well, but it’s totally not. Probably the age thing. I didn’t even try to eat healthy or exercise after Pearl and Axel. I’m still like 17 lbs above what I was before getting pregnant with Flora though and that’s even with paying more attention to what I eat and exercising a bit more (although still not consistently like I should be). Despite the weight issues though, it’s still totally worth it. I just wish I had jeans that fit. 😉
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  6. I’m sorry you have been so sick with this pregnancy. It’s amazing how different each experience can be, isn’t it? I gained a lot more weight with my second as well. I just remember being more relaxed and more excited at the same time. I am SO excited for you and your family!!
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  7. Reply

    Hi, Jenni. I just wanted to check in and encourage you to make sure your doctor tests you for Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and causes hypothyroidism. A majority of people who are hypo have Hashi, but it often goes undiagnosed because doctors don’t (and sometimes won’t) test for it. It is just a blood test called the TPO Antibody test.
    I am hypo also and have Hashi as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
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    1. Jenni

      Hailey, thanks so much for your comment! I also have Hashimoto’s. I honestly feel like it was an answer to years of problems that had happened after my first pregnancy. Lots more testing ahead and likely some lifestyle changes too. But, it does feel like I finally have way to start feeling better. I’d love to chat further with you about it sometime!

  8. Reply

    I love how you compared the differences. I always hear about no two are the same and which is true. Every child is different, hence how they treat out body can be just as different.
    Your poor ankles 🙁 But I love that picture itself.
    Angie Agerter recently posted…Do A Spa Day At Home with Moroccan Products #BeautyMondayMy Profile

  9. Reply

    Wow, for some one who has never had a child like myself, this was eye opening and very interesting. So much to consider. Thanks for the heads up and the insight.

  10. Reply

    Great post, Jenni! I often think about having a second child and how I also don’t think I’d worry so much about the birth but the crazy first few weeks (ok, months) of having the baby home. My little guy also went through some difficult times and it was tough! But we both know that those are only phases, right?! 😉 Sounds like you guys picked a name…? I know you were struggling with that the last time I saw you. Best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy!

  11. Reply

    Sorry to hear this has been a rough pregnancy! Being pregnant in this heat must be extra hard! Hang in there!
    I’m the younger sibling and felt like my parents tried to do things with us one-on-one also. My brother and I got along really well and did a lot together but it’s always nice to do things separately as well. You’ll do great! Plus your boys will be great friends I’m sure! That will be amazing to watch.
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    • Dana H
    • August 4, 2015

    I was so much more relaxed during my second pregnancy and like you, worried less about labor and delivery and more about the reality of life with a 2 year old and a newborn. I also didn’t steel myself with the amount of first baby prep that first time parents usually do. It’s amazing what a difference that makes. I also loved any excuse for sweats and yoga pants–that didn’t change with the second pregnancy or 5 years later.

  12. Reply

    Oh, I feel bad for you! I just started the second trimester of my first pregnancy and overall it has gone smoothly. I’m healthy and feeling good. Sounds like your two pregnancies have been very different. Maybe for you, this means you will have an easier time after the birth of your second. I’m hoping for you! Hang in there Jenni. You’re over half way there.
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    • Mary Rodriguez
    • November 18, 2015

    That’s what so many women have said! I had such bad nausea and was throwing up until 17 weeks. I have had morning sickness. It was like I’m about to end up my life. Seriously, I had a bad pregnancy. When I feel my baby move inside my womb, I’ve started appreciate my pregnancy. From that point on every moment was amazing.

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