Physically recovering from a multiple birth, whether it was vaginal or via C-section, is much like recovering from a singleton birth — only more so. Indeed, the postpartum period can be worse with twins or triplets, as everything you experience will feel just a little bit more painful and last a while longer.
The best pathway for a successful post-birth recovery is to be patient and give yourself enough time to rest and heal. To help you understand what your body is going through, here’s more about how each part of you changes after giving birth to multiples, as well as whether you can speed up (or least ease) the postpartum recuperation period.
Your baby belly is starting to deflate, but don’t rush to the gym as you wonder how to tighten your stomach after twins and multiples. Be patient and know that it’ll take longer for your midsection to return to normal after a multiple birth than it does after having just one baby. Your abdominal skin will be really stretched out after giving birth to twins and other multiples, to the point where it can be uncomfortable to walk and turn around. An abdominal binder can help provide support and relief. As for the pain, you’ll likely feel abdominal cramping for seven to 10 days as your uterus shrinks in size, with the strongest discomfort occurring around days two and three.
Sore nipples and leaky, engorged breasts are to be expected when your milk comes in around three or four days postpartum.
Be sure to eat plenty of healthy foods, drink lots of fluids and get help from a lactation specialist if you need it.
With twins and multiples, you’ll experience greater bloody postpartum vaginal discharge, which is called lochia. For the first 10 days this fluid will appear red and feel heavy, but then it’ll lighten in flow and color and end around the four- to six-week mark.
Thanks to pushing during labor or a possible episiotomy, you may have a swollen or sore perineum (that spot between your vulva and anus) that could last for a few weeks.
Not only is back pain common in pregnancy, but it can very often continue after you give birth too. Postpartum back pain can stem from carrying those new babies all over the place, though pregnancy hormones also relax your muscles, ligaments and joints, so it’ll take a few weeks before your back strength is closer to normal.
You might feel sore all over from the birth experience, while your hips, knees and feet that supported the baby weight (times two or more) will no doubt ache for several weeks postpartum.
Exhaustion is normal, since your babies’ birth may have taken many hours to complete and, of course, you’ll be up all through the night breastfeeding or prepping and giving bottles to your sweetie pies.
If you had a C-section with your twins, triplets or other multiples, the stomach cut you received may take up to six weeks to heal. Some numbing and itching at the site is also normal.
Keep up your energy as you recover, which includes a diet that’s full of complex carbs, fiber, healthy fats and protein, along with plenty of water for hydration. And once you get the go-ahead to exercise, you’ll feel good about getting outside and moving your body. Just don’t rush the weight loss, as it can take at least six months and often longer to return to your pre-pregnancy size.
Remember, it’s completely normal to feel super tired and uncomfortable in the days and weeks after delivery, but certain symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, such as very heavy vaginal bleeding, a bad headache, fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher, or an incision that doesn’t seem to be healing. And you should call hotline right away if you feel chest pain or have trouble breathing.
Having two or more babies at once can do a number on your body, making the after effects somewhat worse and longer-lasting than if you’d had just one baby. Still, know that with enough time, plus help from friends and family, you’ll soon recover and be back to your old self again.