“I find the third baby to be the wild card pregnancy”
That’s what the OB-gyn said when I asked how my third pregnancy would compare to the others. Turns out, this whole notion of “the baby just slides out the third time” is completely false.
Third babies can be a whole different ball game. Your body has changed, you don’t feel the same, and people treat you differently.
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Here’s all the things WE wished we knew before our third pregnancies:
Body Changes Start Earlier
By your third pregnancy, your body knows exactly what’s up.
First pregnancies often take well into the second trimester to show, but your ab muscles have been stretched before and don’t give much resistance this time around.
Third pregnancy it seems like you start showing as soon as the pee hits the stick.
You are also likely to gain weight quicker too. (sorry)
Hopefully you saved your maternity clothes because you’ll want to break those bad boys out right away.
Unfortunately, the discomforts that you may have felt in late pregnancy before will probably start much sooner this time. Pelvic pressure and Braxton Hicks may start much sooner than before.
Your breasts may start leaking early on as well. Also expect those stretch marks to show up sooner. (again, sorry)
With two other littles ones to care for, you may not get any time to rest so the exhaustion can hit your extra hard this time.
On the plus side, all pregnancies are different so there’s also a chance you’ll get lucky. Just because you’ve had morning sickness or sciatic pain in your past pregnancies, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have it this time around.
You Don’t Prepare Much
For your first baby, you probably researched every baby item on your registry, learned everything about newborn care, and created a beautiful nursery. Everything was cleaned, sanitized, organized, and ready for your baby long before the due date.
Third pregnancy, you dig the old carseat out of the garage on the way to the hospital and pray it isn’t expired.
Though you may still feel the nesting urge, it’s unlikely that you’ll do anywhere near the same type of prep for your third.
First of all, you already have a lot of the stuff. If you’re lucky, you kept the baby things from your other kids and don’t need to purchase much.
Second, this pregnancy goes fast. You’re busy and the due date comes quick.
Third, you’ve done this enough to know what you need and what you don’t.
My third had no nursery, just a bassinet (that my husband put together while I was at the hospital) in the corner of our bedroom.
You’ll Regret Not Checking For New Products
Don’t be tempted to just use everything from your previous pregnancies and older children. Treat yourself (and your baby!) during your third pregnancy. Look at what’s changed in the baby product world.
Companies are constantly coming out with items to make your life easier. Believe me, with your third baby you’ll need every advantage you can get!
Here are a couple of the “new” (to us, at least) products we found this time around:
- Haakaa Manual Breast Pump – With three kids, who has time to sit around and bump?? These things are awesome and SUPER flexible. You can suction two of these bad boys and run around the house getting your work done while the pumps draw out milk. Another idea is to attach one to the other boob while you’re breastfeeding to catch extra milk.
- Owlet Smart Baby Monitor– I used both under-mattress and diaper-clip movement monitors with my first two… and they sucked (so many false alarms!). The Owlet system is a lifesaver. With the smart sock, camera, and app combination you can seamlessly and accurately keep track of baby’s heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and ambient room temperature.
- Love To Dream Swaddle UP – I was a huge fan of the velcro swaddles with my first two, but now there’s no comparison to the Love to Dream Swaddle Up. It lets baby sleep with their arms above their heads (most baby’s preferred position) and yet still calms the startle reflex. Genius!
- My Brest Friend – For previous babies, we were diehard Boppy fans. For her third pregnancy Rachel decided to try My Brest Friend. And she wrote an entire article comparing the two nursing pillows – check it out!
Delivery Can Be Totally Different
Remember, third babies are wild cards. Forget your previous birth stories, this one has the potential to be completely different.
Did your first and second babies come early? On time? Late? Doesn’t matter. The third will come when they please.
Anything is possible. Expect the unexpected.
Be prepared for the possibility of a breech baby (that was Rachel’s third!), an induction (BOTH Jo and Rachel’s third babies), a c-section, or something else entirely.
Don’t worry, there’s also the chance everything will be completely uneventful and normal – just be prepared and don’t take anything for granted.
Oh My… the Afterpains
I don’t even remember having cramps after birth with my first. I vaguely remember some mild-to-moderate ones with my second baby. But after my third pregnancy… oh the horror!
Afterpains (cramps after delivery) generally start within a day after delivery and last around two days. The pain you feel is your uterus contracting back to pre-pregnancy size. It’s worse with third babies because subsequent pregnancies cause your uterus to lose muscle tone.
After my third pregnancy the afterpains started about 12 hours after delivery. They hit me in the middle of the night like a sack of bricks and startled me awake. After 5 minutes, another one came. Then yet another!
Don’t be like me, be prepared. Here are some tips to help you deal with the afterpains:
- Don’t hold in your pee. Full bladders mess up the uterus contractions and positioning.
- Lay on your stomach. Preferably with your arms straight down on either side.
- Use a heating pad on your abdomen below your belly button. Bonus points for those industrial ones they have at the hospital.
- Ask for more drugs. The standard of care is generally ibuprofen after delivery. Ask if you can take Tylenol as well. Some providers will even prescribe stronger meds if necessary.
You’re Less Focused On The Pregnancy
It sounds silly, but by your third pregnancy you’re chasing two little kids around and rarely get a chance to focus on your pregnancy. You are busy and with your other kids taking so much of your attention you may sometimes even forget that you’re pregnant.
For my first I read all of the books and checked every pregnancy app religiously. I knew what body parts were developing and the fruit that represented the size of my baby each week.
Third pregnancy, I didn’t crack a single book. The only time I ever checked my one lonely app was to figure out what week I was on.
When asked how far along I was during my first pregnancy, I could tell you the exact week and day.
More than once during my third pregnancy I responded with totally inaccurate guesses. My go-to was “6 months… ish.”
All of the doctor’s appointments that were so exciting the first time around and the wait in between them felt excruciating were much more challenging and felt way too frequent. Dealing with bringing your other two or finding childcare is pain and you get in and out as quick as possible.
The good news is that you also stress less this pregnancy. You are too distracted to worry constantly. You are also aware of which aches and pains are normal so you don’t panic at every twinge.
People Will Get on Your Nerves More Than Before
Family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, or even strangers at the grocery store will always try to get up in the business of pregnant people. Expect it ten-fold with your third pregnancy.
People will be relentless with asking judgey, personal questions.
You’re pregnant AGAIN? Why do you want a third? Wasn’t two enough? Was this pregnancy planned? When are you going to stop having kids?
Yep. Expect lots of kind and caring questions like that.
People also act like all boundaries are gone when you’re pregnant with your third baby. Expect lots of invasions of personal space and uninvited belly rubs. They will comment on how tired you look and how you’ve “got your hands full these days”.
It’s easier to take it in stride when you’re prepared. So be warned.
Your Heart Can Expand Again
A common fear for second time moms is if they could ever possibly love another baby as much as they love their first. We quickly realize that our heart grows.
Well it turns out, that doesn’t stop after two.
Life with three will be chaos, it will be loud, someone will always need something, and you will always be outnumbered. While your time, energy, and money will be stretched thin, your heart will be full.
You won’t have enough hands, but you’ll have enough love.