When discussing birth ideals and preferences with soon-to-be second-time parents, we inevitably simplify the goals. There’s typically a foundation of knowledge from doing research for their firstborn, even if it’s been a few years. But there’s also something to be said from having experience in this arena! You’ve carried a pregnancy already, you’ve been through those early, hazy newborn days, and you’re already navigating parenthood; there are less decisions to make this time around, because you probably have a better idea of what you want, at least in abstract terms.
However your first birth went, we have considerations we always talk through with every family preparing to bring another baby home – read on for some questions and tips!
So often, I hear parents say they are more sore and tired with subsequent pregnancies. This is typically because, in most circumstances, they are getting significantly less rest than they did with their first baby.
Depending on age, parents are more on the move, both physically and logistically, and taking care of themselves less; they prioritize their existing child(ren), stretching their capacity. However, pregnancy is still one of the hardest (and most amazing!) things the human body can do, and you still need the same amount of self-care you did the first time!
While second deliveries are usually shorter and easier, you still need just as much nourishment and rest. How can you shift around family activities or schedules to be gentler on your changing body?
The first time you bring a baby into the world is a rollercoaster of emotions. While you can prepare for so much, how you’ll feel is only found out in the moment, and in reflecting postpartum.
We encourage parents to think back on how they felt through their experience the first time, all the good and difficult feelings. What would you want to replicate? What would you want to change? This can help highlight areas that are priorities for you and your care team.
There are a multitude of factors to consider on this front. Do you want to labor at home for a while? Do you have a scheduled induction or cesarean? What does your support network in the area look like?
We recommend strategizing a care plan with the loved ones in your community who will help support your family during labor, with backup plans for how things can go. Leaving for your birth location during the day vs. overnight might switch up who is available.
How will you include your existing child(ren) in the experience? Many hospitals still have policies in place barring children under 12 from visiting; how could that impact your arrival home or extended care schedule?
At Carolina Birth & Wellness, we love to help families navigate their changing families, wherever you are on your journey. We hope these helpful questions can prepare you for welcoming new love and life into your home, while still ensuring you are getting the experience you deserve.
Maris is a full-spectrum doula and reproductive justice advocate. Experienced in supporting birth, postpartum, loss, and bereavement, she also works as a childbirth educator and placenta encapsulation specialist. With an evidence-based approach, Maris creates spaces for women to make informed decisions that feel intuitive for their bodies and families. She is constantly in awe to share these moments in clients’ lives. Beyond being a full-time doula, Maris also stepped into a new role as co-owner and director of Carolina Birth & Wellness.
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