Nutrition is a very simple yet important aspect of health when pregnant with twins. Making healthy food choices will help to give your babies what they need to develop, as well as help make sure that both you and the babies gain the proper amount of weight. In this blog, Dr. Nathan Fox, OBGYN, and Dr. Barbara Luke, reproductive epidemiologist, nurse, nutritionist, and co-author of the book When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads discuss the topic of the importance of nutrition in twin pregnancies.
When pregnant with twins, women will need to take into account the special nutrients they will need during this time. These may include folic acid, a B vitamin, Iron, calcium, and vitamin D. While women can get these nutrients through vitamins, they should also be achieved through diet
“For me, prenatal nutrition is the most preventive medicine you could possibly do,” said Dr. Luke. “I mean, so many women, when they get pregnant, it’s sort of clean slate, ‘What can I do to have the healthiest diet, the healthiest pregnancy?’ And nutrition is the one factor that’s completely under there.”
There are also other nutrients that are important during a twin pregnancy, such as protein, which is important for the baby’s growth. “I had a number of vegetarians who, you know, I convinced them, unless it was for religious reasons, ‘Please, just you and your husband get off the vegetarian diet while you’re pregnant. Go back after you deliver’, said Dr. Luke. “But this is the easiest, quickest way to build children. It takes protein to build protein. You want nice-sized children. You know, it’s the best gift you could ever give your child, to be well-grown at birth.”
A nutritionist can help you create a balanced diet plan to ensure that you are receiving the nutrients you need. At MFM, we provide nutrition services to help ensure that our patients with twins experience a healthy pregnancy. For those who do maintain a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or other specialized diet, we work with you to achieve a well-balanced and healthy diet appropriate for a twin pregnancy.
An important topic that should be discussed with an OBGYN during a twin pregnancy is the proper amount of weight that needs to be gained. One issue that many doctors find is that women are hesitant to gain weight after so many years of trying not to gain weight. However, gaining enough weight during pregnancy is vital to a healthy twin pregnancy.
“For an average-weight woman, you’re talking a pound a week, give or take, over the course of her pregnancy.,” said Dr. Fox. “That comes to, ballpark, you know, 30 to 40 pounds. And for someone of normal weight, that’s, well, scary to them. And that’s where a good nutritionist can help you with high-calorie, high-protein, and high-vitamin foods, and how to do that.”
Weight gain is most important during the beginning of a twin pregnancy, as that is when the fetuses need the most nutrients to grow. “From conception to 20 weeks, and 20 weeks to 28 weeks are the most critical periods for fetal growth, explained Dr. Luke. “After 28 weeks, it really doesn’t make much difference what a woman gains.”
To learn more about nutrition during twin pregnancy, schedule an appointment with MFM Associates/Carnegie Imaging for Women specialist. Our registered dietitian will be happy to meet with you. Contact our office today!
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!