Weight Loss After Having Twins

Woman weighing herself
A.J._Watt/istock/Getty Images

It's a fact of life: You can't have a healthy multiple pregnancy without gaining weight. But now that your twins are here, why are those extra pounds sticking around when they're no longer needed?

Generally, a healthy pregnancy requires that a woman gain 15 to 30 pounds during the nine-month gestation period. But that's for just one baby. Like everything about having multiples, more is required, although doctor recommendations vary.

Most women gain about 35 to 45 pounds during a twin pregnancy, with about 10 additional pounds for every additional baby in a higher order multiple pregnancy. Usually, about a third of the weight belongs to the babies, and Mom is left with the rest.

Getting your body back after a multiple pregnancy may seem like the least of your worries in the midst of caring for your darling duo. It may not be a concern until weeks, months, or even years later, but eventually, most mothers have to contend with shedding the weight. It can be a huge source of frustration, especially for mothers of multiples, who not only have more to lose but are also coping with the challenges of raising twins or more.

If you are trying to lose weight after a multiple pregnancy, here are some things to consider:

Patience Pays for Weight Loss After Babies

It's important that weight loss is achieved in a responsible manner. Rapid weight loss can be dangerous, and for example, may lead to a higher risk of gallstones. Even though they are no longer inside you, your babies still need you to take care of yourself! It's much better to establish a healthy lifestyle, and allow the pounds to fade away gradually. Remember, it took nine months (more or less!) to put the weight on; give yourself at least a year to return to your original weight.

Pregnancy impacts women's bodies in numerous ways, and sometimes they never return to their original condition.

Keep your expectations realistic. Aim for overall health rather than specific numbers. You may find that even if the scale moves down, you won't fit into your old clothes. Your hips might be wider, your feet may be larger and it's possible that your stomach won't ever be flat without plastic surgery. In the meantime, celebrate your body's changes. It's a small price to pay for the marvelous miracle of having multiples.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Aside from the other benefits of breastfeeding, it may also aid weight loss. Nursing helps the uterus shrink to its original size. It also burns calories. Producing milk for just one baby requires more than 1,000 calories a day.

Diet Decisions

It is crucial to avoid a diet that sacrifices nutrition in favor of weight loss. Now, more than ever, you need an adequate caloric intake. Whether you are breastfeeding or not, you need energy to keep up with those babies! Don't deliberately restrict your food intake. Instead, make sound nutritional choices. Stock up on lean proteins, high fiber carbohydrates, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep healthy snacks on hand so that your hunger doesn't get the best of you.

Be wary of fad diets, especially the popular plans that promise quick results by restricting certain kinds of foods. They may produce weight loss but may not be advisable for your postpartum situation, so talk to your doctor about your specific nutritional needs.

Be Water Wise

If you drank more than your fill during pregnancy, you thought your water woes ended with the delivery. Not so! Drinking water has been associated with weight loss in obese and dieting women.

Drinking water throughout the day can be a challenge for moms of multiples, who don't have an extra moment to breathe, much less drink! Try to always keep a glass or water bottle handy. If you can't stand the bland taste of water, there are several alternatives; try sparkling water (watch the sodium content) or flavored waters (watch for added sugar and calories).

Monitoring your diet, breastfeeding, drinking water, and being patient are important. But, for many people, the key to any successful weight reduction is exercise. You're probably rolling your eyes and muttering, "Yeah, right!" Unfortunately, it's a fact, and the sooner you accept it and implement it, the sooner you'll achieve your weight loss goals. The benefits or regular exercise are numerous, and it's the best thing you can do for your body, and thus your babies.

Establish an Exercise Routine

Even if you had a regular routine before babies, it may be difficult to establish an exercise habit after they're born. Time constraints, childcare concerns, and an overall lack of energy may defeat your desire to make exercise a high priority. But, the longer you put it off, the longer that baby weight will stay with you.

First, check with your doctor. Depending on how you delivered, you may have to wait until your body is completely recovered. In some cases it is only a matter of days; others are advised to refrain from exercise for several weeks.

Walking is one of the cheapest, most convenient and most effective forms of exercise. Put your babies in a stroller and head outside if the weather is nice, or inside to a mall or shopping center if it's not. Find a walking partner to keep you motivated. Encourage your spouse to join you; it's a great opportunity for communication and togetherness.

If you can't get out of the house, check out the numerous home exercise options. You can spend a little (video exercise routine) or a lot (treadmill) and fit in a workout while the babies nap. (Trust me, they will sleep eventually!)

If you have reliable childcare, attend an exercise class or join a gym. Exercise makes a great getaway. Taking a break from caring for babies is important for all mothers, and if you use the time to exercise, more's the benefit. Get together with other mothers of multiples to try yoga or Pilates while you share support and advice about raising twins.

Some facilities even provide on-site care so that your multiples can go with you. Check with your doctor before taking young infants to drop-in childcare facilities, especially if they were premature. Many mothers of singletons enjoy "Mom-n-Me" classes designed for mothers and babies, but be aware that many of these programs require one-on-one parental involvement so twins or multiples would be excluded.

No matter how you accomplish it, make exercise a must.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dieting & Gallstones.

  2. Jarlenski MP, Bennett WL, Bleich SN, Barry CL, Stuart EA. Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. womenPrev Med. 2014;69:146–150. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.09.018

  3. Jeong G, Park SW, Lee YK, Ko SY, Shin SM. Maternal food restrictions during breastfeedingKorean J Pediatr. 2017;60(3):70–76. doi:10.3345/kjp.2017.60.3.70

  4. Vij VA, Joshi AS. Effect of excessive water intake on body weight, body mass index, body fat, and appetite of overweight female participantsJ Nat Sci Biol Med. 2014;5(2):340–344. doi:10.4103/0976-9668.136180

By Pamela Prindle Fierro
 Pamela Prindle Fierro is the author of several parenting books and the mother of twin girls.