Coming home with your twins, triplets or more after having given birth is a big moment for all new parents. Most parents feel a mixture of excitement and fear when faced with leaving the hospital and this is completely normal.

It is also possible that not all your babies will come home at the same time especially if they have had to have some time in NICU/SCBU. Our neonatal guide has lots of information about how to prepare for this possibility.

Parents leaving hospital with their twins

There are many things to have considered before your babies arrive. How are you going to get them home from the hospital? Where are they going to sleep?  How are we going to feed two, three or more babies day and night?

Remember there is no single way of taking care of twins, triplets or more and you will adapt to your new family and develop ways of doing things that suit your circumstances. Our preparing for parenthood booklet is available to our members and gives helpful advice to answer all these questions and more.

We have some more useful information for you now your babies are coming home.

The first few weeks following the birth of your twins, triplets or more will be incredibly busy. Friends and family may offer to help out. Not only should you accept these offers, but try to make sure they are helping with real chores (laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning etc) so that you can have as much time as possible to rest, enjoy your babies and share moments with your partner.

If help isn’t offered, ask for it. People may well be happy to pitch in if you make it clear you would appreciate their assistance. However, make sure that you don’t end up looking after the helper - if someone pops over to see the babies, they will certainly be able to make their own cup of tea (and one for you while they’re at it!).

Help doesn’t always have to be directly with the babies and, if you are in a financial position to do so, you might find paying for a cleaner to come once a week or every once every 2 weeks for a couple of hours will take off some pressure to keep up with the cleaning as well as everything else.

Cooking can be the last thing on your mind, but it is important that you are eating well.  Look at what can be cooked in advance and frozen; if there is something in the freezer that you can just take out and heat up this is going to be much easier and quicker than cooking from scratch. Again, if people ask if they can help in any way, suggesting that they make you a meal is a great option!

In some areas, health visitors will do home visits in the early days, especially for parents of twins, triplets or more. This means the babies can be checked at home and you don’t have to go to the baby clinic. It might be worth checking what the process is for your area prior to your babies arriving so that you are prepared.

Your health visitor may be able to organise some home help for you, though there is no guarantee. Voluntary associations such as Homestart can also help.

It’s also worth noting if you are travelling to a baby clinic to find out how its laid out before you get there. Some buildings don’t let you take in pushchairs so it might be worth letting the staff know you are coming so they can help you on your arrival if you are attending clinic alone.

What is it, how to spot it and what you can do?

During pregnancy, the muscles in your abdomen, specifically the rectus abdominis muscles, separate to make room for your growing babies. After giving birth, this gap can take anywhere from six-weeks to nine-months to reduce. It's important to note that around one-third of all new mums will experience some level of diastasis recti, especially if they have had twins or multiples. When starting exercise around six-weeks postpartum, it's crucial to check for this separation and be mindful of how we engage our abdominal muscles.

In very rare cases, diastasis recti can lead to a hernia or prolapse, such as an umbilical hernia causing a bulge or soft swelling around the belly button. This can occur due to increased abdominal pressure from everyday activities like lifting, coughing, constipation, poor posture or multiple pregnancies. Incorrect exercise techniques, such as performing full planks, crunches, sit-ups, roll-ups, excessive twisting movements or intense back bends can also contribute to this condition. It's important to avoid these exercises until your abdominal muscles have fully recovered.

How can you determine if you have diastasis recti?

You can check the separation of your abdominal muscles on your own. Busylizzy specialise in pre- and postnatal exercise and have provided a video below that demonstrates how to do this.

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Test and exercises for Diastasis Recti

Between six to eight weeks postpartum, it's normal to have a gap of approximately 20mm or two fingers. Anything larger than that after eight weeks is considered problematic and it's recommended to seek further medical advice.

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If you have any degree of diastasis recti, it's essential to receive guidance on modifying common exercises to ensure safe workouts until the gap closes. Busylizzy classes are a great resource for finding this guidance and receiving exercises tailored to your stage of recovery and all Twins Trust members receive two free Zoom classes each month to help you get started.

After the marathon of pregnancy comes the ultra-endurance test of motherhood itself. Becoming a mum is a huge shift, both physically and mentally, so acknowledging the change in our bodies and minds and continuing to make time for our recovery and emotional adjustment can be very helpful.

Sometimes pregnancy can change our physique permanently. Our expanded ribcage and pelvis may not go back to where they were, for example. But it's all part of the amazing job our body does to grow and give birth to our babies. It's not always easy to ignore societal pressures to 'bounce back' to pre-pregnancy size or weight, but try to think about your postnatal recovery in terms of 'bouncing forward' to embrace the new you.

Postnatal fitness can really help after having a baby for a number of reasons. It can:

  • Re-strengthen your body after the marathon of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Prepare you for the long journey of motherhood to come - building strength and endurance for carrying your little ones, pushing the double buggy and then needing to be more active as your babies become toddlers.
  • Boost your mood with endorphins and offering valuable 'you' time, as well as easing the anxieties of early parenthood.
  • Provide the perfect antidote to the hours spent holding or feeding your little ones with stretches for your neck, shoulders and back.

However, going too fast or too hard risks causing permanent damage, so finding postnatal specific classes or exercises that protect your recovery and taking a gradual approach is well advised. Postnatal instructors should ensure that you’re working safely and tailor exercises to your stage of recovery. Mum specific classes also mean you’ll meet other mums with little ones and build another valuable social support group.

A women lies on her back taking part in an exercise class

Postnatal exercise should also take into account a few common issues experienced after giving birth. For example, while the abdominal separation (diastasis recti) created by pregnancy is still in the process of closing, it's really important that you don't work too powerfully into the abdominal muscles and modify common exercises to work safely until you have managed to close the gap. So no planks, crunches, sit ups, roll ups, excessive or fast twist movements and strong back bends until that gap is closed.

Moreover, the continued presence of relaxing in your body (especially if you're breastfeeding) makes it easy to overstretch and strain your muscles and ligaments if you overdo it. It also creates a looseness in joints such as your knees, ankles and hips that high impact exercises such as running can put too much pressure on.

Your pelvic floor also needs to be rebuilt after supporting the weight of your babies, even if you've had a C-section. And it's something that needs lots of work to make sure you feel comfortable going to the toilet, having sex and also to protect you from leaks. This is big picture stuff to ensure a healthy and happy future for you.

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Our bodies have been through enormous changes during pregnancy and childbirth. They need time to heal before trying to return to pre-pregnancy physical exercise. By looking after yourself and taking the right approach, you can come out the other side as a fitter, stronger and healthier you. We've partnered with Busylizzy Family Club who provide Twins Trust members with two free Zoom classes each month so you can exercise safely and conveniently at home.

Our helpline, Twinline, is also on hand to answer any questions you may have and provide support as you start your journey with your new babies. If you would prefer to send us your question then you can also complete the Ask Twinline form.