Although you can't control the force of your contractions or what position the baby will be in, your attitude is something you have control over. Depending on your previous birth experience, moms can go into their next child's birth with a positive, anxious, or relaxed state of mind.
"Experienced moms are definitely more relaxed," says Durham. The more relaxed you are, the more you're working with your body, which can quicken the process.
The first birth experience can be scary for many women because of the fear of the unknown. "Even if you had a hard first birth, you did it," says Durham. And that is something to be proud of.
Although most experienced moms tend to be more relaxed, anxiety can set in if their previous experience was less than pleasant. Meredith Bach had a difficult first pregnancy and delivery. "I had worried so much through my second pregnancy that it would be like my first, and when it wasn't and it was so beautiful, I knew why people do it over and over again," says this Franklin, Tennessee mom.
Kim James, of Seattle, Washington, had an unexpectedly different experience from her first child. "My second daughter's birth was longer, more difficult, and required the use of more medical interventions. I also used pain medications with this birth, which was unplanned." Even though her second birth experience was more of a challenge, she didn't feel as if it was "worse." "Birth is birth—sometimes it's shorter or longer or easier or harder."
Most moms agree that there was much less preparation the second time around. Part of the reason is you may already be more confident about what to expect. Yet the biggest reason may be lack of time—you're so busy with your other children that there is little time for reading or enrolling in a childbirth class. But if you are pregnant, Baby is coming (maybe soon!) and you'll need to get prepared. Here are some suggestions: