Baby #2: Three Things to Consider Before Getting Pregnant
Once you’ve had one kid, people seem to think having a second baby is less of a big decision. However, determining whether or not you’re ready for two kids is difficult. According to family wellness expert Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, ‘While only you and your partner can truly decide what’s best for your family, there are a handful of factors to consider when figuring out if you’re ready to start planning your second pregnancy.’ So what do you need to think about before trying for baby number two?
1. Your Health During Your Second Pregnancy: Murkoff notes, ‘Just as you wanted to be as healthy as possible before making baby number one, you’ll want to be as fit as possible before tackling your second pregnancy. While experts say it takes at least a year to fully recover from pregnancy (what with the vitamin depletion, strain on your reproductive system, and weight fluctuations), there’s no rule that says you need to wait a full year before trying again. If you’ve gotten back to your pre-pregnancy weight, you’re eating well, and you’re feeling energetic enough to plow through a second pregnancy (well, as energetic as you can feel while taking care of a little tyke!) there’s no reason not to go for baby number two as soon as you’d like.’
- Health Pros for Back-to-Back Pregnancies: ‘If you’re concerned about your age and fertility, the sooner you start your second pregnancy, the younger (and probably more fertile) you’ll be,’ Murkoff points out. ‘Your first baby will likely keep you moving (good physical activity!) throughout your second pregnancy. You probably won’t have time to agonise over every pregnancy symptom since you’ll be busy round-the-clock.’
- Health Cons for Back-to-Back Pregnancies: Murkoff cautions, ‘During your second pregnancy, you won’t be able to rest (or sleep) as much as you’d like since you’ll have your firstborn clamouring for your nearly constant attention. Unlike your first pregnancy, you’ll be required to do some heavy lifting (i.e., carrying around your firstborn) whether you have a backache or not! If you had a C-section for your first delivery, it may be difficult for you to have a vaginal delivery within 18 months to two years. If you’re breastfeeding during your second pregnancy, you’ll be nourishing not just one, but two babies, so you’ll need to be extra careful about keeping your nutrient levels up.’
2. Your Financial Situation During Your Second Pregnancy: Murkoff advises, ‘Besides figuring out whether or not you can afford another little mouth to feed, you’ll want to consider a host of other factors such as:
- If you work outside the house, can your budget take the hit from a second maternity leave or will you have to cut short your time with the second baby?
- Are you a stay-at-home mom who would like to get that second pregnancy over with so that you can return to work?
- Can your house handle another little body now, or will you need to move to a bigger (more expensive) home to accommodate your growing brood?
- Will you be able to use the baby gear you already have (crib, car seat, and stroller), or will your firstborn still be using it, requiring you to get a second set of essential items?
Having a second baby will be an additional expense no matter when it happens, but the timing of your second pregnancy can have a big impact on how much extra money you shell out. You and your spouse may want to come up with a preliminary budget to see what you might be able to afford in the near future versus the distant future to help you make your decision.’
3. The Possibility of Having a Third Baby: ‘Another factor to consider,’ says Murkoff. ‘How you want to space your children. Chances are if your little one’s clamouring for a younger sib, you’ll get bitten by the baby bug all over again. So once your (rubber) ducks are in order, get ready for the baby-making to begin again!’