No two births are the same, so don't worry too much if your first labor was difficult.

child kissing mothers pregnant belly
Credit: PhotoAlto/ Matton

Q. I'm pregnant with my second child, and I'm really nervous about delivery because I had such a difficult labor with my first baby. Is this one likely to be the same?

A. Every labor and delivery is unique, so there's no way to predict what will happen. However, if this isn't your first baby, you'll most likely have an easier time of childbirth than you did with your first pregnancy.

Why? Your body already knows what to do. This time around, your cervix is more likely to dilate quickly and shorten your labor. The fact that your vaginal muscles are already stretched from your first birth will also speed things along because they'll give more easily this time. Of course if you had a cesarean delivery without labor the first time around, none of this applies unless the cesarean was performed after you entered the pushing stage.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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