The majority of twin pregnancies result in a c-section delivery. Whether your c-section birth was scheduled or unplanned, you will find all the information you need right here to get started on the right path to healing and recovery.
A typical c-section recovery is approximately 6 weeks, but if you had complications your recovery may be longer.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please follow up with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
1. Move as soon as possible!
It is important to get moving as soon as it is safely possible after your c-section. You will still be in the hospital at this point and the nurses may assist you. You should attempt to move within 24 hours after your c-section if everything went as planned.
Moving after a c-section is important to keep your muscles from tightening and tensing up. Moving after your c-section will also decrease your odds of developing a blood clot or respiratory complications.
It will be difficult to move at first- you just had major abdominal surgery! Take things slowly and protect your incision with a pillow as needed.
2. Stay on top of your pain medications
Now is not the time to be a hero- you just had major abdominal surgery (I am going to be saying this a lot!) It is very important to keep on top of your pain medication for at least the first few days post c-section birth.
Taking your prescribed pain medication will help you to be able to move around with minimal discomfort, which is important for healing.
Please keep in mind everyone has a different level of pain tolerance. Some moms may only need to take their prescribed pain medication for a few days, others for a few weeks.
New moms post c-section often voice several different concerns when it comes to pain medication.
Concern about the compatibility with pain medications and breastfeeding or pumping for twins
This is a valid concern! As a mom intending to breastfeed or pump for your twins, you naturally would be concerned about the effect on your breastmilk and on your babies. Typically there is no concern with the pain medications prescribed for a c-section recovery and breastfeeding or pumping for your twins. When considering the typical pain medications prescribed for a c-section recovery, the amount of the medication that passes into the breastmilk is extremely small and will not have an effect on the twins.
The vast majority of obstetricians prescribe pain medication that is compatible with breastfeeding. Ensure your provider knows you intend to breastfeed or pump for your twins. If you have any concerns about the medication prescribed, please discuss with your healthcare provider or your pharmacist.
For your reference, you can check the compatibility of a drug with breastfeeding using InfantRisk
Concerns about becoming dependent on the pain medication
This is also a valid concern! Typically, if you are taking the pain medication on schedule as you need it, there is a very minimal risk of developing a dependency.
As your pain level decreases it is important to decrease the amount of pain medication you are taking and the frequency of which you are taking it.
If you have a history of drug dependency or have a family history of drug dependency, be sure to discuss this and any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider.
Inability to care for your twins due to side effects of the pain medication
If you are experiencing side effects of your pain medications that are making it difficult to care for your babies, you are likely receiving too high of a dosage of pain medication. I recommend speaking to your healthcare provider about decreasing your dosage.
Just as an additional note- you just had major surgery! It is important to line up help and support to help care for you and your twins as you are healing.
It is vital to your c-section recovery after a twin birth that you rest when you are able. Rest and twins in the same sentence?!
Again, you just had major abdominal surgery! And you have two babies to care for. You may have other children at home as well.
It is important to give your body time to rest in order to recover and heal. In the past 9 months or so you have grown two babies, birthed two babies through a surgical birth, and now you may be nourishing two babies by breastfeeding or pumping for your twins. All of this takes a toll on your body. You need to rest in order for healing to take place.
My recommendation is to balance activity and rest. If you have something active that needs to be done, be sure to plan a period of rest afterwards.
It is important to listen to your body. If you are feeling exceptionally tired it is important you rest more.
Again, try to arrange for any form of help or support that would be beneficial to your family during your transition to being a family with twins!
4. Focus on good nutrition
An emphasis on nutrient dense foods after a twin c-section birth is vital to your recovery. Eating a well-rounded diet, with a focus on foods high in protein and vitamin C are important for wound healing.
5. Drink ample amounts of water
Drinking water is a portion of the healing puzzle. Drinking adequate amounts of water will help prevent constipation that can be associated with c-section birth and a side effect of the prescribed pain medication.
6. No Heavy Lifting
Avoid lifting anything heavier than your twins for the first 6 weeks. This is to protect your incision from opening.
If you have other children at home this can be very difficult. If possible, arrange for help around the house for the first 6 weeks.
7. Wear loose fitting clothing
You will want to avoid tight clothing or putting any pressure on your incision. Avoid clothing or underwear that have a seam that sits at or on your incision.
Invest in some high waisted underwear and high waisted loose fitting pants to wear for the first few weeks of your recovery.
8. Beware of sneezing, coughing and laughing!
Sneezing, coughing, or laughing can increases your intra-abdonminal pressure and cause pain, and in rare cases, the incision to open.
Brace your incision with a pillow when you feel a sneeze or cough coming on. It is not always easy to prepare for laughter (lol) but keep a pillow nearby just in case.
9. Constipation Prevention
The combination of having a surgery and taking pain medication will put you at risk for constipation. Again, we want to minimize the intra-abdominal pressure (aka pushing!) to avoid complications with the incision.
Also, you have two babies… you don’t have the time to be sitting on the toilet forever.
Tips for constipation prevention include
Diet high in fiber
Here is where the nutritious diet comes into play.
Drink lots of water
Adequate water intake will help prevent constipation. Ensure you are drinking to quench thirst.
Take prescribed stool softeners
Most health care providers will prescribe stool softeners after a c-section birth. You will need to take the stool softeners typically for several weeks after your c-section.
Moving and walking around will help to prevent constipation.
10. Watch for signs of infection or complication
Infection is a ppossible complciation of any surgery. If you have any signs or symptoms of infection, please seek medical assistance immediately.
a) Fever over ___ F or ___ C
b) Body aches or chills
c) Redness extending more than ___ cm or __ inches from the incision
d) Drainage from the incision
e) Incision separation or opening
f) Sudden increase in pain
g) Heavy bleeding soaking more than one sanitary pad in an hour
h) Passing blood clots the size of a golf ball or larger
i) Redness, pain, and/or swelling in your lower leg
j) Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
k) Headache, accompanied by vision changes
11. Talk about your experience
Talking about your c-section is an important part of processing your birth. Whether your c-section birth was scheduled or unplanned, you may have complicated emotions surrounding your birth. It is ok to grieve the birth you wanted.
You can talk with your partner, family, friends or a professional to help you process your feelings.
A c-section recovery can be challenging. I hope these tips are helpful to you in your postpartum journey.
C-section mamas, what is your best c-section recovery tip?!