Fact: Your second pregnancy might not be as smooth as the first one!
Dr Geeta Komar, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Bangalore tells you why!
It is generally true that if the first pregnancy has been smooth, the second pregnancy will be smoother. This is mainly because of the fact that various factors related to pregnancy have already been tested during the first pregnancy.
However, this is not always the case. Certain complications can be typical to a second pregnancy. One such example is the Rh factor, a protein present on the surface of red blood cells. Most people who have Rh factor are Rh-positive and those who do not have Rh factor are Rh-negative.
When an Rh-negative mother’s blood comes into contact with blood from her Rh-positive foetus, it causes the Rh-negative mother to make antibodies against the Rh-factor. These antibodies consider baby’s Rh factor as a harmful substance and attack it, leading to ‘Rh sensitization’. This can result in severe anaemia and jaundice in the child. To avoid any complications, an indirect Coomb’s test is done at the start of the pregnancy to determine whether there are antibodies in the mother’s blood.
Rh-negative mothers are given Anti-D immunoglobulin injection during pregnancy, if not sensitised. In some cases, women are also given these injections after delivery if the baby born is Rh-positive, to avoid any further complications. This also helps in reducing the incidence of Hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) and prevents the mother from creating antibodies.
Some of the typical ways in which your second pregnancy might be different than the first:
- Women in their first pregnancy notice the baby kicking by the fifth month. However, an experienced mother may feel these changes in just four months.
- Expectant mothers should prepare themselves for delivery earlier than their due date as after the first pregnancy the uterus doesn’t shrink down to the previous size and there are chances of the baby being born earlier.
- The abdominal muscles become weaker and are unable to support the baby, the way it did before. This results in the foetus dropping lower in the abdomen during the second pregnancy
- Sometimes, women may not experience discomfort during their first time but may experience it in their second pregnancy. To relieve the discomfort pregnant women can practice Kegel exercises
- For some women pelvic joints ache more than they did during the first pregnancy. It’s important to take proper precautions and avoid bending in these cases.
- Women who had suffered certain medical conditions like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or obstetric cholestasis might suffer these again in their second pregnancy. Therefore, proper preventive measures should be taken to avoid any complication
- Pregnant women should watch out for any symptoms that they have experienced before and should immediately consult a specialist.
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