Proper Pregnancy Diet with Twins and Multiples
If you are expecting twins or multiples, get ready for some exciting times ahead! Not only can a multiple pregnancy be a very enjoyable and uplifting experience, but you also get to welcome multiple bundles of joy into your family! Of course, being pregnant with twins or multiples can also be very challenging. In particular, you will need to pay close attention to your pregnancy nutrition to be sure that you and your babies are getting all the vitamins, minerals, and energy that you need to stay healthy. Here are some great pregnancy diet guidelines for mom’s expecting twins, triplets, or more!
Now that you are expecting multiples, you may be particularly worried about gaining weight during your pregnancy. Many women expect that they will have to put on lots of extra weight in order to support twins or triplets, but this is typically not the case. Here are the suggested weight gain guidelines for twin and multiple pregnancies. Remember, if you were underweight before you become pregnant, you may need to gain more weight, while if you were overweight you won’t need to gain as much.
Twin Pregnancies: If you are pregnant with twins, you will only need to take in about 600 more calories each day. This is only 300 calories more than you would consume during a singleton pregnancy. This extra 600 calories will help you to reach a target weight that is somewhere between 35 and 45 pounds, which is only about ten pounds more than with a singleton pregnancy. Weight gain is especially important during the second and third trimester. Try to gain weight steadily during this time, putting on about one and a half pounds per week.
Higher Order Multiples:
If you are expecting triplets, quadruplets, or higher order multiples, you will need to increase your caloric intake accordingly. Try adding an additional 1000 calories to your daily intake in order to gain enough weight to support the pregnancy. Typically, women who are expecting triplets, should try to gain about 2 pounds per week during the second and third trimester. Speak with your health care provider about the right weight gain for you.
Tips on Gaining Weight
It can sometimes be quite difficult for women carrying twins or higher order multiples to gain the right amount of weight. As your pregnancy continues, you may find that you just aren’t as hungry as you used to be. This is because your babies will begin to push on your stomach as they grow, limiting the amount of food that you can comfortably eat. To keep gaining weight, try out some of these tips:
- Eat foods that are rich in nutrients and calories: Peanut butter, nuts, and yogurt are easy to snack on, but are rich in calories and those much needed vitamins and minerals.
- Eat more often: Try eating smaller meals throughout the day, so that you don’t get too full, too fast.
- Drink your calories: Try drinking milkshakes and fruit smoothies to increase your caloric intake. These drinks are healthy and will help you put on the weight more easily.
Vitamins and Minerals
Women who are pregnant need to make sure that they are getting the proper vitamins and minerals in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in helping your baby develop his organs, tissues, and muscles. It also contributes to healthy eyesight, hearing, and mental development. Women who are expecting twins or multiples need to take in more of certain nutrients in order to be sure that each baby receives his fair share. Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes to getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals:
- Calcium: Pregnant women need to take in approximately 1,000 mg of calcium daily throughout their pregnancies. If you are expecting twins or multiples, however, you will probably need a little bit more. Try to ingest at least 1200 mg of calcium (this is equivalent to about 4 cups of milk).
- Folic Acid: Folic acid is essential to your baby’s health, particularly in the first trimester. Without the proper amounts of folic acid, there is a risk that your baby will experience neural tube defects, like spina bifida. Women who are pregnant with twins or multiples should try to get in the same amount of folic acid as women expecting single babies (approximately 800 micrograms a day).
- Iron: If you are expecting twins or multiples, be sure to get your iron levels checked during your prenatal checkups. Because of the increased blood flow with twin and multiple pregnancies, iron levels can drop dramatically, causing anemia.
- Fiber: Women who are expecting twins or multiples are also often asked to take a fiber supplement. This is because the demands of a multiple pregnancy can leave you more prone to constipation. Fiber supplements can be purchased from your local pharmacy.
Proper hydration is essential during pregnancy, particularly when it comes to a multiple pregnancy. Dehydration can stimulate uterine contractions, which may lead to preterm labor. Avoid this by drinking at least 2 quarts of water every day. Try keeping a bottle of water near you throughout the day to increase your liquid intake.
The Food Groups
As with a singleton pregnancy, women expecting multiples should aim to eat a well-balanced diet. This means that your diet during pregnancy should contain foods from all of the four food groups, including:
- Protein: Women expecting twins or multiples need to get in between 90 and 120 grams of protein every day. This is the equivalent of four protein servings, which can include fish, chicken, lean red meat, or soy-based products.
- Milk and Dairy: Milk and dairy products are chock-full of calcium, which is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Be sure to get at least four dairy servings a day, which may include yogurt, low-fat milk, or cottage cheese.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables will help you to get all of those necessary vitamins and nutrients. Aim for at least six servings a day.
- Unsaturated Fats: Your body needs the right amount of fat in order to remain strong and healthy. Aim for two to four servings of unsaturated fats, which may include vegetable oils, light mayonnaise, or peanut butter.
Every pregnancy is unique - but that doesn't mean other expectant moms don't want to know what your experience is like! Help other women preparing for the birth of twins or multiples learn from you by going to Pregnancy Stories and posting your tale.
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