measuring labor contractions

Do contractions get worse with your second baby?

Your body has changed by the time you have a second child. The good news is that you won’t have to push as much with your second baby delivery as you did with your first baby. With your second baby, early labor may only last 8-12 hours. While there is evidence that suggests second babies will be on average 3.5 ounces larger than a first baby, the contractions that you feel will likely be the same. The major difference between labor with your first baby, and labor with second and third babies is that your body will take longer to heal. 

measuring labor contractions
Measuring Labor Contractions

Is Braxton Hicks worse with a second child?

More good news for the second time you go into labor is that women usually arrive at the historical more dilated that first time expecting mothers. This is because second-time mothers experience more Braxton Hicks and therefore the cervix is more dilated. Some first time mothers do not experience Braxton Hicks at all. More experienced expecting mothers also prefer to stay at home longer than first-time mothers. It’s easier for many women to have early labor contractions in their own home or bedroom rather than a hospital. Having early labor contractions at home is only wise if you live close to a nearby hospital or delivery area. 

Other differences with Labor and Delivery with your second child

Having your second baby also comes with the obvious difference of already having a child that you need to care for. While you may have had time to check your pregnancy app every day with your first child and rub oils on your belly, with the second pregnancy you may not find that you have the time. You will also have to schedule a babysitter to watch your first child while you are in labor. You should reach out to friends and family during your second trimester to make sure you have someone you can trust to stay home with your first child as you go to your designated labor and delivery area. 


On average labor and delivery for women with their first child is 8 hours. For women with a second child, the labor and delivery times can be reduced on average to just 5 hours. New challenges will be presented by your second labor but you can leverage your past experience to help calm your nerves. You may find that you are in a much different place mentally with your second child. With your first child, you may remember having to learn everything about having a baby. I know I would even sneak into my son’s bedroom just to see if he was breathing. With your second child, you can be more realistic and rest easy that you have done it before.

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