So far we have been emphasising first labours and the thoughts and emotions that go with it. However, this may not be your first pregnancy and therefore your feelings may seem very different. Second or third time around mothers usually feel that they have far less time to think about what is happening and have spent far less time concentrating on this pregnancy than they did first time around. You may have also encountered the attitude from others that 'you've been through it all before' and therefore you should 'know what to do'. It shouldn't be forgotten that every pregnancy is different and so too is every labour. Statistically it might be true that subsequent labours tend to be shorter but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be easier. You may feel much more tired and less focused on giving birth than you did before and you may feel preoccupied with existing responsibilities. Many women approach the situation with unpleasant memories from the previous labour and perhaps are feeling much more fearful than they did before. There may be a sense of inevitability about it: 'I had a Caesarean last time so I'm bound to have another.'
Alternatively, a previous experience may have encouraged you to do it differently this time. You may have attended birthing classes again, chosen a home birth this time, decided to have acupuncture if you need to be induced. A distressing experience first time may galvanise you into action to prepare yourself in a different way.
The biggest issue for subsequent pregnancies is usually managing your multiple responsibilities. If you are feeling unprepared or unsupported concerning labour, it is going to be a less positive experience. It is important to recognise that you still need the active support and guidance of a birth partner. Even though there can be other children to think about, it is important thatyou have the support as well.This may be even more true as you may feel you are more tired, less relaxed and your thoughts are more split than they were first time around.
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