Everything about multiple pregnancies is different from the singleton pregnancy. Carrying twins or triplets means a few things; frequent ultra-sound scans and more medical check-ups to monitor your babies’ growth and development and making some changes in your diet. This means that you should eat well now that your requirements for certain nutrients will need to double or even treble.Your plate should comprise of 40 per cent carbohydrates, 40 per cent fat and 20 per cent protein with low glycaemic index to stabilise blood sugar levels within your body and provide your growing babies with continuous supply of energy.
Folic acid is the first nutrient that the doctor will ask you to increase. Do this by eating plenty of fruits and leafy vegetables especially spinach because they play an important role in preventing neural tube and birth defects such as spina bifida. The other advantage of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is that their succulence keeps you hydrated and their high fibre content ensures you do not get constipated.
Eat sufficient amounts of proteins. Your body will use it to build the uterine muscle fibre and increase blood volumes required by the two or more babies in your womb. Beef, pork, turkey, chicken, nuts, milk and cheese are some of the healthy sources. Proteins also prevent pre-eclampsia (which leads to high blood pressure, oedema and presence of protein in urine), gestational diabetes and preterm labour.
Iron levels tend to drop naturally during pregnancy and it drops further in multiple pregnancies making you prone to maternal anaemia. You will need between 30 and 60 milligrams of iron daily throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor might put you on iron supplements just to make sure that your blood levels do not go down. Foods such as red meat and dried fruit are good for you.
The frequent manufacture and repair of your body tissue and regulation of blood sugar levels will require you to increase your intake of foods rich in magnesium. Magnesium also builds strong bones and teeth for your babies. Maintaining adequate levels prevents the uterus from contracting too soon, a high possibility when you’re carrying more than one baby in the womb. The best food sources are pumpkin and sunflower seeds, wheat germ, unblanched almonds and yoghurt.
Sit in the morning sun to increase Vitamin D uptake by your body. Good levels of this vital vitamin will increase blood circulation in the placenta and aid in calcium absorption so that your babies will have improved bone mass at birth. A fortified cup of orange juice, soymilk and breakfast cereals, fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, beef liver and egg yolks are good alternatives for you on a rainy or chilly morning.
For the sake of your bones get enough calcium during pregnancy. 1,500 to2,000 milligrams of calcium a day is the recommended dose for multiple pregnancies. This essential nutrient can reduce the severity and lower the risk of developing pre-eclampsia, low birth weight and preterm delivery, which are common disorders in multiple pregnancies. You may opt for yoghurt because it has a higher level of calcium compared to fresh milk.
Choose foods that give you the most nutritional value with the least servings and eat several smaller meals throughout the day.
Published on March 2014