Just as every baby is unique, so is every pregnancy. The things we crave, the shape of our baby bumps, our skin and our mood can all be very different in second or subsequent pregnancies.
But for women who suffered from bad morning sickness in their first pregnancy, can things really be that different the second time around?
"Morning sickness varies from pregnancy to pregnancy," says Liz Wilkes, accredited midwife and spokesperson for Midwifes Australia. "So it is possible that you can feel fine during one pregnancy and be struck down with terrible morning sickness in your next, and vice versa."
However, Wilkes notes that women who suffer from chronic and severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum are likely to suffer just as badly in their next and subsequent pregnancies.
Another factor that can dramatically change the likelihood of morning sickness in one pregnancy to the next is having twins. "The level of hormones do impact the degree of morning sickness and therefore women having twins will often have worse morning sickness," she says.
This is something that Rachel* discovered first hand when she had twins. "I didn't have much morning sickness at all during my first pregnancy, but second time around, when I was pregnant with my twins, I felt awful," she explains.
For many women, a factor that can change their experience of morning sickness is the fact that they have an older child to look after while they are feeling so ill and tired. Wilkes says that in most cases this worsens the symptoms of morning sickness.
"Women who have a toddler generally feel the impact of morning sickness more keenly as they are trying to manage their toddler as well as the morning sickness," she says. "Tiredness often exacerbates the impact of morning sickness, and women with toddlers are generally tired!"
This was certainly the case for Samantha*, who says she was shocked by how bad she felt during her second pregnancy. "I only experienced some mild nausea during my first pregnancy," she says. But during her second pregnancy and with a very active toddler to look after, Samantha found herself struck down with awful morning sickness.
"I spent most of the first trimester lying on the bathroom floor while my toddler mimicked me throwing up," she says.
But it doesn't always follow that running around after a toddler makes morning sickness worse, as Claire*, a mother of two, discovered.
"I had terrible morning sickness during my first pregnancy and was vomiting several times a day until well into the second trimester," she recalls.
When she fell pregnant with her second child she braced herself for another dose of pregnancy nausea, but second time around things were different. "I wouldn't say I felt 100 per cent, but I hardly vomited at all and was able to function normally," she explains.
Although it is hard to know for sure, Claire thinks part of the reason she found the nausea easier to cope with second time around was the fact that she had a toddler to run around after.
"Looking after Jake meant that I had to get out of the house every day, regardless of how I felt. It took my mind off it and I think that really helped," says Claire.
Morning sickness isn't something that can be easily predicted, but if you do find yourself suffering more than you expected it's a good idea to speak to your GP about treatment options, after trying home remedies such as ginger or peppermint.
As obstetrician Pauline Joubert says, helping women through pregnancy sickness can be challenging, but is not insurmountable: "It requires the team efforts of your GP, obstetrician and other caregivers ¨C and not least of all, your family and friends."
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