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Following a healthy and balanced diet is important during pregnancy to ensure that the nutrient requirements of the baby growing inside you are met properly. And, if you are carrying twins, then you will need enough nutrition for the three of you. This does not mean you need to drastically increase the quantity of food, but it does mean that you need to eat a variety of healthy foods every day to meet the nutrition requirements of the twins in your womb.
How Many Calories Do Pregnant Women Need?
If you are pregnant with twins, your calorie intake in the first trimester should be around 300; 680 calories in the second trimester, and 900 extra calories in the third trimester of your pregnancy. The calories you intake need to provide the right kind of nutritional value, so it is always best to know what kind your baby will need the most.
Nutritional Requirements of Women Expecting Twins
Here are the nutritional requirements of women who are pregnant with twins:
Protein is a vital component for the creation of human cells and thus should be a part of your daily diet.
Increase your protein intake and eat different protein-rich foods every day so that you won’t get bored of eating the same thing. You can eat meat every day while including a vegetable or bean as a side dish.
|Protein Intake||Food Source|
|70-100 gm per day||Lean Meats (beef, turkey, chicken, pork)
Iron helps in reducing the risk of anaemia, hypertension, and preterm delivery.
Know how much iron you should consume and the food sources from where you can get iron.
|Iron Intake||Food Source|
|30 mg per day||Red meat
Calcium is very important for the formation of strong teeth and bones.
Given below is the amount of calcium you should be consuming every day and the foods which are a good source of calcium.
|Calcium Intake||Food Source|
|1,500-2500 mg per day||Milk
Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars like glucose, which gives energy to your growing baby.
This is how many carbohydrates you should be consuming and the foods rich in carbohydrate.
|Carbohydrate Intake||Food Source|
5. Folic Acid
Taking folic acid during pregnancy can prevent your baby from developing birth defects of the spinal cord and brain. It is important that you take folic acid for a healthy pregnancy.
Folic Acid Intake
Here is how much folic acid you should be consuming every day and the food sources of folic acid.
|Folic Acid Intake||Food Source|
|Should be decided by the doctor according to the trimester||Spinach
6. Salt and Healthy Fats
Salt is essentially sodium which keeps everything in balance. Table salt generally contains iodine which is extremely important for the proper development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Healthy fats also facilitate proper brain growth and eye development.
Salt and Healthy Fats Intake
Though salt and certain types of healthy fats are good for you to consume, you must always keep in mind that you need to consume them in moderation otherwise it might be a problem.
|Salt and Healthy Fat Intake||Food Source|
|Salt: 3.8-5 gm per day
Healthy Fats: 120 gm per day
Flax seeds & Soybeans
7. Vitamin Supplements
Most women get nutrients from a healthy and balanced meal. However, if you do not have a good appetite, your doctor may prescribe some vitamin supplements. The same goes if you have any kind of health issues.
The supplements you will most likely need to take are iron, iodine, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin C, etc.
Drinking a lot of water throughout the day will prevent dehydration during pregnancy. You need to drink around 10 glasses of water every day. Drink enough water during the day, but avoid drinking too much water at night to lessen your bathroom visits in the middle of the night.
How Much Weight Should You Gain When Pregnant With Twins?
Earlier women who expected twins were usually suggested to gain around 35 to 40 pounds of weight without taking into consideration their individual pregnancy size. The Institute of Medicine issued new guidelines that are individualized to pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI). This way, there is more chance that the twins will be born healthy to a healthy mother.
Your weight gain should be consistent throughout the pregnancy, especially during the first 28 weeks as this reduces the chance of premature delivery. If you are underweight (BMI is less than 18.5, then you should gain 50-62 pounds; if your weight is normal (BMI 18.5 – 24.9), then you should gain 37-54 pounds; if you are overweight (BMI of 25 – 29.9), then you should gain around 31-50 pounds; and if you are obese (BMI is greater than or equal to 30) then you need to gain around 25-42 pounds. Here are some tips for meeting your recommended weight.
- Consult your doctor about how much weight should you gain for a healthy pregnancy and then work with him throughout your pregnancy to make sure you are on track.
- Keep track of your weight gain throughout your pregnancy and compare it to what your weight needs to be for the month you are in.
- Follow a balanced diet. Eat healthy foods that meet the nutritional requirements of you and your babies.
- Avoid or limit consumption of solid fats and added sugars.
- Pay attention to your calorie needs. You may not need any extra calories in the first trimester of your pregnancy, but in the second trimester, you will need around 340 additional calories per day and 450 additional calories per day in the third trimester. So, make sure your calorie requirements are met.
- Get enough exercise and physical activity. You need to make sure you do some form of pregnancy exercises or at least go for a walk every day. Physical activity is considered to be very healthy for pregnant women as long as they do not overdo it at once.
How to Avoid Low Birth Weight Through a Proper Diet
In the case of a twin pregnancy, the chances of the babies being born with a low birth weight increase. Low birth weight is also known as Intrauterine Growth Restriction. To lessen the risk of low birth weight, do not have large meals, instead opt for small and frequent meals every day. What you eat should be healthy. Protein is very important during pregnancy and while you may prefer eating non-veg food, it is recommended that you get some of the protein from non-animal sources. Add more nuts, seeds, beans and vegetables to your diet. Vegetarians and vegans needn’t worry about any kind of protein deficiency for as long as you keep your diet varied, you will be just fine.
When to Consult a Doctor
If you feel excessively tired and find that your immunity level is going down, then it is a sign of nutritional deficiency. In such a case, you should consult a doctor. You can also contact your doctor if you notice you are gaining or losing too much weight. Ideally, you and your doctor should discuss what you should eat and what to avoid, depending on your BMI.
Here are some frequently asked questions about twin pregnancy diet.
1. Should I Eat More When Expecting Twins?
You do not have to eat too much; as long as you maintain a strict and healthy diet you will be okay. Keep your weight in check. Opt for healthy snacks like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and a hummus dip or a trail mix of different kinds of nuts to which you can add a few dark chocolate chips and dried fruits.
2. If I Struggle to Eat, Will My Baby Get Enough Nutrients?
Morning sickness and the other side effects of pregnancy can be more intense when a woman is expecting twins. This can interfere with your appetite, but as long as you stick to the twin pregnancy nutrition guidelines, you will be fine. Do not binge eat and drink plenty of water and fluids between meals and make sure your diet is varied and of the best quality. You will need to consult your doctor and discuss how you can handle this situation.
Compared to a single pregnancy, a twin pregnancy can be a lot more challenging. Your body will be supporting and growing not just one but two babies who will require a lot of nutrition in order to develop well. Do not take your diet lightly and rely on supplements and multivitamins, but make an effort to have fresh and varied food every day for the sake of your babies.
Also Read: Types of Twins in Pregnancy