It’s your second pregnancy and you are thinking that things should be easier and simpler? Well, it may not be true afterall. Every pregnancy is different and both your health and that of your second baby, have to be taken into serious consideration! Just like the first pregnancy, leading a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise is necessary – sometimes with a baby #1 to take care of, you may have let some of these healthy habits slide. Your body is different after the first pregnancy and depending on the timing of your second pregnancy, there is a need to replenish depleted nutrients for your body.
Start early! Here are 8 ways to prepare your body for your second pregnancy.
Timing of Second Pregnancy
Your body needs time to recover after the first pregnancy and the optimal time to have the second pregnancy is between 18 months to 2 years. Generally, the body has to rebuild the lost nutrients from the first pregnancy and after breastfeeding. However, if you wait too long for the second pregnancy, there is a higher risk of preeclampsia and high blood pressure. Babies conceived less than six months after the older sibling is studied to be more likely to have a low birth weight and premature birth.
Iron is much needed during pregnancy to manufacture extra blood cells to nourish the fetus. It is fairly common to be slightly iron deficient in the first pregnancy and if iron is not replenished. a second pregnancy may cause the mother to have anemia. Anemia increases the risk of a preterm or baby with low birth weight, postpartum depression or baby with anemia and developmental delays.
#3 Replenishing Essential Fats
Omega 3 is used for the baby’s development and also, to prepare for breastfeeding. If you have not replenished this and start with your second pregnancy with deficiency in essential fats, there is a risk that your baby may suffer from insufficient essential fats too. Essential fats is crucial in the development of baby’s brain, nervous system and immune system. It is recommended to allow at least half a year before the conception of your second baby so that you have enough time to build up on your essential fats. Pregnant ladies are also encourage to take in fish oil supplements to replenish omega 3.
#4 Replenishing Folic Acid
Similar to essential fats, folic acid is also required from the early stage of fetal development. It may have been depleted in your first pregnancy and also during breastfeeding. An untreated folate deficiency increases your risk of a preterm baby, baby with low birth weight, baby with cleft lip and birth defect of the spine or brain. Folic acid supplement is easily available at the pharmacy. Expectant mums can consume green leafy vegetables, legumes and nuts to replenish folic acid too.
#5 Replenishing Zinc
Zinc is one important mineral important for our body, one that is often forgotten. Do you know that zinc deficiency may lead to infection, pre-term birth, low birth weight and premature birth? Therefore, it is recommended for expectant mums to take zinc supplements as it helps your body develop a healthy immune function. If you are unsure about taking supplements for zinc, the good news is that many foods are rich in zinc too! These include lean beef, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and beans.
As you would have known with the first pregnancy, your body undergoes massive changes to cater for a growing baby. The demands on your body will not be any less in your second pregnancy and having a healthy diet cannot be overlooked. It may be even more difficult to eat healthily for your second pregnancy, especially with a child to take care of and a home to run. Nevertheless, never neglect the nutrients your body needs! Do remember to eat a balance and healthy plate of protein, grains, fruits and vegetables and dairy on a daily basis. Consider taking a multivitamin supplement and cut down on caffeine, sugar and trans-fats food.
Being a mother brings on a lot of responsibilities, but it is important to keep up with your exercise routine. Exercise brings on a host of benefits, giving you higher energy level, an easier delivery and more importantly, exercising releases endorphins – a feel-good hormone that moms definitely need during pregnancy. Consider bringing your first child out to the park for some fun activities too!
#8 Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment
You may want to schedule a doctor’s appointment to find out if you have any medical conditions that you need to take note of and how you can better manage these conditions during your second pregnancy. Also request for a blood test to detect nutritional deficiencies – iron, minerals, calcium and other nutrients. You can also ask your doctor about the recommended vaccination/s that you can take before trying to conceive. Don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist for gum care too!
You may feel confident about your second pregnancy, after all you have already gone through all the ups and downs during your first pregnancy. It is best to take extra caution during pregnancy and never take your health for granted. Have a great and smooth pregnancy!