• Lifestyle

Labor and Birth The Second Time Around

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  • Lifestyle
Can you remember your experience during your first labor and childbirth? Did it go well? Then you’re probably expecting, or hoping, that things go the same way. If it was a bad experience, you might want to know if things can change.

Every labor is different, but there are some things you can expect as you approach labor a second time:

  1. Unlike in your first pregnancy, your baby’s head might not engage in your pelvis until much later—even as late as the time you are already going into labor and when the contractions start.

  2. Your contractions may become stronger and faster this time and, in turn, your cervix might open faster too.

  3. If you’re having a vaginal birth for the second time, your pelvic floor muscles and the elastic walls of your vagina have been stretched before so your baby's head might have an easier time passing through the birth canal.

  4. If you had a very long labor the first time, this one will likely be quicker. For second-time moms, labor is five hours on the average (compared to 8 for the first time); while your pushing time should be under two hours, down from three hours.

Some believe that a second baby comes earlier too, but that’s not necessarily the case. You can’t really know when you’ll go into labor. While the muscle memory is there, which should, in a way, help make the experience smoother, birth experiences tend to vary a great deal. If there’s anything to know about having children, it’s that they tend to defy all expectations!