What To Expect During Your Second Labour

21/02/2010 21:29 | Updated 22 May 2015

We've all probably read the reports on supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who apparently didn't find it painful giving birth to her first child Benjamin in December.

For us lesser mortals it's not quite the same. If you're thinking of having your second child, or are pregnant with number two, you will know only too well what labour is exactly like.

And the question uppermost in your mind might be: will it hurt so much second time around?

In many ways going into labour for a second time has disadvantages, especially if your first birth was traumatic, scary or not quite what you had in mind.

For some women, this memory is enough to make them stop at one. But it's true, time is a healer and, if your first birth wasn't too traumatic, you may find you've blotted out the worst bits until it's too late. Here's our low down on second time labour:

  • Expectations. The good news is you know what to expect. You might have been induced last time but have vowed to do everything in your power to bring labour on naturally this time. Or you may decide on an epidural. Whatever it is, you'll probably be clearer about what you do and don't want to happen.
  • Length: It is often said second labours are shorter but it does still depend on the position of the baby. However, your body does seem to know what to do and how to be more efficient than the first time. My first natural birth lasted ten hours, which I know isn't long but certainly felt it. However, second time around it was only two.
  • Engaged: Quite often baby's head won't engage until just before labour starts, so hopefully you won't feel quite as uncomfortable in the last weeks.
  • Weight: It's often said that second babies are heavier. Although this may be true in a lot of cases it isn't necessarily as it depends on how many weeks you are when you go into labour, as well as the baby's gender. I found my boys to weigh more at birth than my girls.
  • Differences: All births are different, so if you tore last time, it doesn't mean you will this time. Similarly if you had a caesarean the first time it is possible to have a natural delivery this time.
Generally, giving birth the second time round can be wonderful because, much like having your second baby, you are more confident and relaxed.

How did you find second time labour? Was it easier? Or are you expecting number two and more worried this time?

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