Every woman who has ever had children knows that pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s body, and having twins (or more) can certainly magnify that self-perception! As we watch our bodies grow larger and change shape to accommodate a veritable litter of children, we worry that our bodies as we once knew them are a relic of the past and that our bikini days are over. However, “twin skin” is not inevitable following a twin pregnancy! Here are some tips to help you get back into shape post-delivery and most importantly to get motivated:
Stay active while pregnant
As long as you are feeling good and if you have the blessing of your doctor, you may engage in gentle exercise. This is not the time to be trying for a PR in the next 5K, but there are lower-impact and lower-risk activities that can keep you moving, such as swimming or using a stationary bicycle. If you are approved to exercise, maintain caution to avoid overexertion, and talk with your doctor about knowing when to stop.
Get outside with your babies
Now that you’re home from the hospital, have recovered from with your babies delivery, and are trying to figure out which end is up, what better way to burn a few calories than to head outdoors for some fresh air? Taking walks with your babies will not only give you some exercise, but it will also help clear your mind. Walking will also give you an opportunity to expose your babies to new and different sights, sounds, and smells as they start to become familiar with the world around them. If your partner is available, walking together is a great way to bond with the whole family. And if you want to ditch the stroller, try a carrier instead—toting the extra weight will help burn more calories!
Incorporate babies into your daily activities
Who needs to weight-train when you have these two babies who are constantly eating, gaining weight, and need to be physically transported around? Having twins means having to automatically do a second set of repetitions of whatever activities fill your day. Picking babies up to feed, play or change diapers, or lifting babies in and out of cribs or bathtubs offers plenty of opportunities to lift increasingly heavier home-grown weights. And whether you’re hauling two carseats or are carrying one baby on each hip, you’ll find yourself getting stronger and more toned in no time!
Wear a fitness monitor
I’ll never forget the time I checked my fitness monitor and it said that I had already walked 0.5 mile by the time my alarm went off that morning—that’s how fussy my babies were overnight! Tracking your steps throughout the day can help you realize how much you are running all over the place to care for your new bundles of joy—whether it’s to grab diapers, bottles, burp cloths, etc. or throw in another load of laundry—and it can motivate you to maintain or increase your activity each day.
There’s nothing a parent won’t do to see their babies crack a smile, so make it fun for everyone and participate in their play! Turn on some music, bust out your best dance moves, and dance for (or with!) your little ones. When babies are young and less mobile, integrate them into some fitness moves, such as doing squats while holding them in turn, or giving them a kiss every time you come down for a push-up. As babies get older, introduce them to action songs (the “Hokey Pokey”, “Ring Around the Rosie”, and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” are just a few household favorites), offer them “horsey” rides or overhead “airplane” rides, or crab
When your twins are stimulated by other children and other environments, chances are they will want to explore…and usually they’ll head in opposite directions! Participating in playdates will have you running around constantly to keep track of your twins, ensuring good energy expenditure for both mom and babies (and hopefully quality nap time)!
Go to the gym
If you belong to a gym or decide to join one, find out about the childcare that they offer. It may be included in your monthly dues, or you may need to pay a nominal fee. Being able to drop your kids off and go work out just down the hall can give you peace of mind and much-needed mommy time to break a sweat.
About the Author
Lori Bacon PT, DPT, TLC’s Prepartum Associate for the San Francisco Bay Area and the East Bay, is the proud mother of fraternal twin girls. Lori is also a practicing physical therapist, and as a member of a helping profession, she particularly enjoys being able to connect with and educate her clients. You can reach Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our services in San Francisco and the East Bay.