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  Second baby – Aiding the second pregnancy
I seem to be rather a poor pregnancy subject – I really find it a struggle and get so frustrated with women who tell you they blossomed during pregnancy! What steps can I take to make this pregnancy easier than last time?

To some extent, this is the luck of the draw. Having a tough pregnancy last time does not necessarily predispose you either way the second time around. Every pregnancy is different, just as you will find that every labour is different and every baby is different. So while you need not jump to any hasty conclusions, there are things you can do to make your pregnancy as easy as possible.

The first and most obvious step is to ensure that you are getting excellent nutrition. Growing a baby is hard work, and making sure that you are well nourished can take the edge off. It may be worth seeking the advice of a nutritionist to ensure that you are eating a well balanced and healthy diet. This is not the time to be worrying about losing weight, but you also need to ensure that you do not gain too much. The increased weight of pregnancy does put a strain on your body, so you should aim to gain less than 16kg. This can help reduce some of the symptoms of pregnancy such as aches and pains, breathlessness and stretch marks. However less than 11 kg can also be less than ideal. Your doctor will monitor your weight and that should help you to assess if you are gauging your diet correctly – as your appetite and nutritional needs will vary throughout the pregnancy.

Even though it may seem impossible, you need to look at the pace at which you live and see that for this time you may have to slow down. There is evidence to show that stress and exhaustion can make symptoms like morning sickness seem worse. So accomplishing the skill of delegating would be a wise move. Get all the help you can. Learn to accept help when it's offered. Acquire some relaxation skills, such as meditation. The upside of this is that your baby is likely to be calmer after birth if exposed to less stress during the pregnancy.

Exercise is important for a variety of reasons. Getting regular gentle exercise, such as walking, is a good way to reduce your stress levels. In addition, the muscles in your abdomen are probably less taut than they were in your first pregnancy. This can make you prone to backache, so keeping the abdominals exercised will really improve your quality of life.

Having other children means that this pregnancy is likely to be even more tiring than the first. You will have to get clever at getting rest and quiet time – lie on the bed with your toddler and read a story when you are exhausted. Accept and ask for help. Accept that you are not invincible and that you are allowed to leave some tasks undone rather than make yourself completely exhausted. Take care of yourself as well as for your family, and you will reap the rewards afterwards.

See also:

Second baby - Carrying a toddler

Second baby - Difference in second pregnancy

Second baby - Feeling overwhelmed

Second baby - Second delivery

Second baby - Similar pregnancy

Second baby - Small gap between babies

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