Pregnant with Multiples

If you are pregnant with twins you may be the envy of your friends for having two babies with only one pregnancy. Neat trick! Two for the price of one is certainly a great deal but being pregnant with multiples has its own special needs, unique challenges, and potential complications. Whether it’s fraternal twins, identical twins, triplets, or even quads - as a result of IVF or just sheer luck - being pregnant with multiples is anxiety producing for moms who are carrying twins or higher-order multiples. From conception to pregnancy, delivery to post-partum, women who are pregnant with multiples are overflowing with questions. How early can I tell if I’m having twins? How much should I exercise when carrying multiples? What should I be eating for a twin pregnancy? Will I have to go on bed rest? Are c-sections inevitable when delivering multiples? Will my twins have to stay in the NICU after they are born? What is Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome? How will I be able to breastfeed both my babies? Whatever your question, we have expert answers and mom-tested tips for women who are pregnant with multiples. Find out about your babies’ growth and development, and their special prenatal needs and nutritional requirements with our Q&A’s, articles, and resources. Being pregnant with multiples can be hard on mama’s body too so get the scoop here on what you need to do to stay healthy throughout the course of your pregnancy, during labor, and after your babies are born.

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What to Eat While Pregnant With Twins and Triplets

You know you need to eat more than a woman who's carrying just one baby, but exactly how much more? And what exactly should it be? Here's the meal deal.

If you’re expecting twins, guidelines say you should consume 300 extra calories per day in the first trimester, 680 in the second trimester, and 900 in the third. If you’re carrying triplets, eat 450 extra calories in the first trimester, 1,020 in the second trimester, and 1,350 in the third. Keep in mind that the sources of the calories are even more important than the number you consume. Get 20 to 25 percent of your calories from protein, 45 to 50 percent of your calories from carbs (but stay away from white carbs -- moms carrying multiples are at increased risk for gestational diabetes), and 30 percent of your calories from fats.

Zinc

HOW MUCH 30 mg per day

WHY Zinc levels drop off during pregnancy, so make sure to supplement your diet with this essential nutrient that is linked to a lower risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and prolonged labor.

TRY Black-eyed peas are a great choice.

Folic acid

HOW MUCH 600 µg a day

WHY Even before you get pregnant, you should start increasing this one. Doing so
cuts your risk of birth defects.

TRY No midnight cravings for spinach or asparagus? Try an orange for 50 µg a pop.

Calcium

HOW MUCH If you’re expecting twins, get 1,500 mg a day, and get 2,000 mg
a day if you’re carrying triplets.

WHY It’s extremely important to get enough calcium when pregnant. This essential nutrient can reduce the severity and lower the overall risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and preterm delivery.

TRY Some yogurt has 450 mg per cup, which is more than the calcium in a serving of milk

Magnesium

HOW MUCH 300 mg per day

WHY This decreases risk of pre-mature labor and aids in developing your babies’ nervous systems.

TRY Sprinkling some almonds on your cereal! Nuts are a great source, and a quarter cup of almonds has 98 mg of magnesium.

Protein

HOW MUCH Calculate your nonpregnant protein needs (an average-size woman needs 70 g of protein a day) and add 25 g of protein per fetus.

WHY Your body needs a lot more protein now to help the fetuses grow and ensure that your babies’ muscles develop properly.

TRY A lean-beef or chicken burger yields 30 g.

DHA

HOW MUCH There are no specific guidelines for how much DHA a mom of multiples should be getting each day, but some studies say you should be aiming for 600 mg per day.

WHY Higher levels of DHA in newborns correspond with higher birth weights. It’s also associated with higher IQs, advanced motor skills, and fewer neurological problems later.

TRY A 4-oz. serving of salmon packs a punch, with 130 mg.

Iron

HOW MUCH 30 mg per day

WHY Not enough can impair your babies’ growth and increase the risk of hypertension, preterm delivery, and low birth weight.

TRY A bowl of fortified cereal at 10 mg, which provides more iron than a serving of beef.

Vitamin D

HOW MUCH 25 µg per day

WHY It helps increase blood circulation in the placenta and aids in calcium absorption so that your babies will have improved bone mass.

TRY A fortified cup of orange juice, or go outside and get some sun for a few minutes every day, because this vitamin can be absorbed through sun exposure.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Pregnancy Nutrition and Exercise

Average Birth Weight for Twins, Triplets and Quads?

Pregnancy Checklist for Multiples

-- Excerpted from The Baby Bump, Twins and Triplets Edition

See More: Nutrition , Multiples

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