If you’ve never been pregnant before, you may feel overwhelmed thinking about the next 9 months. A lot will be happening in your life, and many changes will be taking place. We’re not talking only about the physical changes you will experience. They are certainly a big part of pregnancy, but changes will be occurring in other areas of your life, such as changes in your professional life, changes in your life with your partner and changes in the relationships you share with family and friends. It’s a lot to take in right now, but having some time to deal with these various situations—you have many months ahead of you—may make your tasks easier.

With a repeat pregnancy, you may feel baby move sooner than with a first pregnancy. Part of this may be because you already know what baby’s movements feel like, so you identify them sooner.

On the physical and emotional side, you may experience fatigue and emotional mood swings. You must adjust to your changing body. People will give you advice and share stories about their own pregnancies, labors and deliveries. You will receive lots of attention, sometimes unwanted.

You can’t avoid some of these experiences. However, knowing the facts about pregnancy can prepare you to accept or to ignore advice. Knowing how the female body reacts to pregnancy can help you understand the changes you experience and help you make intelligent choices as the need arises. If you’re willing to adapt and adjust your lifestyle for the sake of your health and that of your growing baby, you can do a lot to make your pregnancy a happy, fulfilling experience.

You’ll Receive a Lot of Attention

A positive (sometimes negative) aspect of a first pregnancy is the attention you receive. At times you may be irritated by people who ask how you feel and what you’re experiencing.

Debbie was tired of inane questions and wisecracks from coworkers about her pregnancy. She turned it back on them by asking them the same questions. When asked about her weight gain, she would reply with a grin, “My healthcare provider says I’m doing great with my weight gain. What has your healthcare provider said about yours?” Her co-workers took it in good humor and soon got the message.

Allow people to help you and do things for you. Some women don’t appreciate how much others are willing to do for them during their first pregnancy until they become pregnant again. Helpful attention is a luxury not always offered in subsequent pregnancies, so take advantage of it now!

Sharing the News

You may feel a little awkward telling family members, friends and co-workers you’re pregnant. Some people thoughtlessly offer their advice or opinions on “being an older mother.”

If others are critical or do not have your best wishes in mind, ignore them! Focus your attention on staying healthy and having a happy pregnancy. Your pregnancy is your business—you don’t need the good opinion of anyone else to make it a positive experience for you.

When you announce to co-workers and supervisors you’re pregnant, be prepared for a range of reactions. Be clear you have made the right decision for you. Assure co-workers your pregnancy is just one aspect of your life (a very important aspect), and you plan to continue your job as long as you are able, if this is what you choose.

Repeat Pregnancy

With a first-time pregnancy, every experience is a new one for you. In later pregnancies, things are different. Many women assume their second pregnancy will be just like their first. Often it isn’t—your emotions in a repeat pregnancy may not be the same as in a first pregnancy. However, you may feel more relaxed.

In a repeat pregnancy, you are often seen as a “pregnant mother”; in other words, you should know what’s going on. You may be reluctant to ask for extra attention, although you may need it more. A second pregnancy can be more stressful because of the extra demands on your time and energies. You must attend to your family’s well-being, take care of yourself and maybe a career as well. You may wonder where you will find the energy to satisfy everyone else’s needs. Physical discomforts may bother you a bit more. If you experienced various problems in your first pregnancy, you’re more likely to have those same problems in subsequent pregnancies. Some repeat pregnancy problems include gestational diabetes, premature labor and some placenta problems.

On the plus side, women usually have a shorter labor with their second child, often only about half as long as with a first baby. Pain may not lessen, but because labor is usually shorter and you know more about what’s going to happen, it may be easier to handle.

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