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Preparing the body for a second pregnancy

daughter and bump

Once your first baby’s gone from a bundle in your arms to a cheerful toddler, you may be questioning whether you’re ready for your second pregnancy?

Your second pregnancy is a big decision and one which takes considerable thought. However, similarly to your first pregnancy, it’s essential to prepare your body.

Common questions include:

  • Is second pregnancy worse than first?
  • How many years gap for second baby?
  • What are the early signs of second pregnancy?
  • What are the second pregnancy symptoms?

In this article, we will answer those questions and show you how to prepare for another pregnancy.

pregnancy nutrients

Watch Your Nutrients

Your nutrients are critical during your second pregnancy. It’s essential to note that your body is in a different condition, and there are second pregnancy differences. Your second pregnancy—especially if it's within two years—can drain your body of essential nutrients because the pregnancy is taxing on your body. Here’s how you fight that:

  • Omega 3s - Omega 3s restore essential fats that become depleted during your second pregnancy. Many women who don’t consume food sources of omega 3s or consume adequate supplements may become devoid of these nutrients during and after pregnancy.
  • Iron - During pregnancy, you’ll need to increase iron by up to 50%. The sudden iron increase enables the creation of extra blood cells. These blood cells ensure nourishment reaches the foetus via your blood. As a result, you should consume seafood, beans, peas, dried fruits, and green vegetables to increase your iron during your second pregnancy.
  • Folic Acid - You must replenish folic acid before your second pregnancy. Folic acid is vital for foetal development because it allows your cells to divide. You can replenish folic acid by consuming legumes, seeds, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Zinc - Men and women commonly suffer from zinc deficiency. However, women must ensure they consume nuts, seeds, meats, legumes, and dairy to maintain high zinc levels. Failure to consume enough zinc creates zinc deficiency in your unborn child.

pregnant exercise

Exercise

It’s critical to stay physically active during your second pregnancy. Although some mothers enjoy running throughout their second pregnancy—which is okay in moderation—it’s not the best time to start running. The best exercises are low-impact exercises, such as walking, yoga, and swimming. There isn’t an ideal heart rate during your second pregnancy, but if you’re struggling to maintain a conversation, your heart rate is likely high.

It’s a wonderful idea to start with low intensity and build up to 30 minutes per day and up to five times per week. Most importantly, always remember exercise is excellent for your baby; it won’t harm your baby unless you put extreme stress on the body. You should stop exercising if you feel queasy or become dehydrated.

Limit Caffeine

Caffeine is your best friend when you’re feeling tired, but you should limit your intake. Although tiredness is common during pregnancy, especially during the later months, limit your caffeine intake to around 200 milligrams per day. Researchers have linked high caffeine intake to stillbirth and miscarriage. These are two things you must avoid.

Here are some guidelines:

  • A can of Coca-Cola has 40 mg of caffeine.
  • A 250ml energy drink has around 80 mg of caffeine.
  • A mug of filter coffee often has 140 mg of caffeine.
  • A standard bar of chocolate has 25 mg of caffeine.

So, as you can see, it’s easy to build up your caffeine intake. You’re probably unaware of how much caffeine you consume. Still, a healthy diet mixed with superb nutrients can make up for your decreased caffeine intake.

No Alcohol

There are many sacrifices you have to undergo during your pregnancy. However, alcohol—depending on your current lifestyle—might be the most significant. There’s little evidence to suggest light drinking in your second or third pregnancy will damage your baby.

Nevertheless, most experts recommend against drinking alcohol until post-pregnancy. There is some evidence that moderate drinking, such as 7 units per week, can be harmful to your baby. However, don’t worry, you can have the biggest party after your pregnancy.

No Smoking

Smoking is always harmful to your body, but it’s even worse during your second pregnancy. Unfortunately, smoking can have detrimental effects on your baby's health. You’re more likely to have:

  • Preterm labour - Preterm labour is labour that begins too early. Typically, this is before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labour can cause premature births, thus creating health problems for your baby.
  • Ectopic pregnancy - An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg plants itself outside of your womb and begins to grow. It almost always ends in a pregnancy loss. Moreover, it can cause significant health complications for you.
  • Low birth weight - Smoking can cause a low birth weight of fewer than 5 pounds and 8 ounces.

Furthermore, smoking is also dangerous for your baby after birth. Secondhand smoke can cause asthma, ear infections, pneumonia, and ear infections in your baby. Smoking is challenging to quit, but you can always reach out to experts to help you quit.

healthy eating

Maintain a Healthy Weight

You’re likely to gain weight during your second pregnancy, so don’t become too concerned when your weight rises. That said, the ideal weight gain during your second trimester—which is primarily a result of carrying your baby—is between 12 to 14 pounds.

During the third trimester, your baby’s weight will likely increase. However, your weight may begin to taper off to an increase of 8 to 10 pounds. Many women find their weight stabilises or even decreases during their ninth month.

For the best second pregnancy weight gain results, keep an eye on your weighing scales. The best time to measure is first thing in the morning after you’ve emptied your bladder and you’re naked. Try to weigh yourself every day for consistency.

Diet and exercise are crucial for maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re underweight before your pregnancy, you may need to consume more calories. During your second trimester, you’ll need an additional 350 calories daily compared to your pre-pregnancy diet. However, you’ll require 500 more calories per day during your third trimester.

FAQ

How Long Should I Wait Before the First and Second Pregnancy?

How much gap between first and second child is a prevalent question for all mothers. To decrease the risk of pregnancy complications and give yourself recovery time, you should wait between 18 to 24 months between your first and second pregnancies.

However, people older than 35 might want to consider waiting 12 months between their first and second pregnancies to balance the concerns about infidelity, etc.

How Can I Recognise When My Body is Ready for the Second Pregnancy?

Your body will have fully recovered between 18 and 24 months after your first pregnancy. In addition, your body will have undergone significant recovery 12 months after your first pregnancy. So, if you’re feeling healthy and you’re over 35, a year may be enough for you.

If you live a healthy lifestyle—with an excellent diet, lots of exercise, and low stress—your body will recover faster from the second pregnancy.

What Are the Second Pregnancy Symptoms?

Your second pregnancy symptoms could include morning sickness, breast tenderness, mood swings, bathroom visits, food cravings, and fatigue. However, the symptoms shouldn’t be too different from your first pregnancy.

Final Thoughts

Your second pregnancy is unlikely to be any worse than your first pregnancy, so don’t worry too much. Although there may be some differences, the lessons of your first pregnancy and living a healthy lifestyle will guide you through another pregnancy.

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