Preparing for pregnancy the second time around

alexis schraderBefore my first pregnancy, I spent months exercising, eating right, going to acupuncture and taking vitamins. I felt really on top of things.

Then I got pregnant and was blindsided by terrible morning sickness. Then I had a miscarriage. Then I got pregnant again. Basically I threw up every day for a year. It was seriously not fun.

Now, I’m getting to ready to add a second child to our family, and my goals have changed. Last time, my only concern was a healthy pregnancy. Now, I also need to be a good parent to an active toddler while I’m pregnant.

While I’m worried about no longer being able to nap under my desk, I also feel like this time I have a better idea of what pregnancy is like. Here’s what I’m doing differently now that I know what to expect:


Before my first pregnancy, I had a regular yoga practice. Now, most of my exercise comes from chasing a toddler around.

While I’m trying to prioritize working out, a daily 90-minute yoga session is not in the cards. Instead, I’m focusing on specific muscle groups.

I’m using pilates to work my core and pelvic floor, which really take a beating during pregnancy.

I’m also working my shoulder muscles. I had a lot of shoulder pain with my first baby from constantly picking her up and holding her, so much so that I ended up in physical therapy. By working my shoulders with resistance bands, I’m strengthening my muscles to prevent overtaxing them later.


I’m still breastfeeding my 2 year old, so I’m trying to eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods.

Before my daughter was born, I never drank coffee. Now, I need a cup in the mornings to get going. Before my first pregnancy I would have obsessed over this. Now I’m letting it go, since the amount of caffeine is well within the range considered safe and I’ll be better able to parent my daughter with the extra energy.

The importance of prenatal vitamins is common knowledge, and I started taking them long before I got pregnant. But once I was pregnant, I threw up every time I took one. This time, I researched vitamins that minimize nausea.

I also researched supplements, like milk thistle, that may minimize morning sickness.


During my first pregnancy, I tried to minimize stress, which at the time was pretty easy. Now, my life has changed a lot — as a mom, I’m basically on-call all the time.

So I’m using my limited free time to multitask, doing things that will both relax me and hopefully prepare my body for an easier pregnancy. This includes chiropractic care, rolfing sessions and pilates classes to open my hips, correct my posture to help with back pain and get in better shape so I have more energy and endurance for my family.

I’m also spending more time stepping back and observing my daughter. It is such a joy to watch her play more independently as she gets older. And now she’ll be used to me lying on the couch while she plays!

Preparing for another pregnancy is definitely more complicated, because I have more than one child to consider. But knowing what pregnancy and the postpartum period are like have helped me target my efforts towards specific goals. Hopefully this will make the transition to a family of four easier for all of us.

How was your second pregnancy different from your first? Did you do anything different to prepare?

Author: Alexis Schrader

Alexis is a writer, Girl Scout troop leader, and work-at-home mom. She blogs about kids' media at

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