Belly up to the buffet table, mom-feeding four means it’s always time to chow down. While you won’t literally have to quadruple intake (any more than a woman expecting a single baby born has to a double it), you will need to be some serious eating in the months to come.
Moms-to-be of multiples should indulge in an extra 150 to 300 calories a day per fetus, doctor’s orders (good news if you’re looking for a license to eat, not so good news if queasiness or tummy crowding has your appetite cramped). Which translates to an extra 300 to 600 calories if you’re carrying twins, an extra 450 to 900 calories for triplets (if you’ve started out with an average prepregnancy weight).
But before you take that an extra allotment as a free pass to burritoville (extra guacamole for baby A; extra sour cream for baby B; refried beans for baby C), think again. The quality of what you eat will be just an important as the quantity. In fact, good nutrition during a multiple pregnancy has an even greater impact on baby birthweight than it does during a singleton pregnancy.
So just how do you eat well when you’re expecting more than one?
Keep It Small. The bigger you belly gets, the smaller you’ll want your meals to stay. Not only will grazing on give or six healthy mini meals and snacks ease your digestive overload (and your tummy crowding), but it’ll keep your energy up-while delivering the same nutritional bottom line as three squares.
Make your calories count. Pick foods that pack plenty of nutrients into small servings. Studies show that a high-calorie diet that’s also high in nutrients significantly improves your chances of healthy having full-term babies. Wasting too much of that premium space on junk food, on the other hand, means you’ll have less room for nutritious food.
Go For Extra Nutrients. Not surprisingly, your need for nutrients multiplies with each baby-which means you’ll have to track on some extra servings to your daily dozen . It’s usually recommended that woman carrying multiples get on extra serving of protein, one extra serving of calcium, and one extra serving of whole grains. Be sure to ask your practitioner what he or she recommends in your case.
Pump Up The Iron. Another nutrient you’ll need to ramp up is iron, which help your body manufacture red blood cells (you’ll need lots of those for the increased blood your multiple-baby factory will be using ) and helps keep you from becoming anemic, which often happens in multiple pregnancies. Read meat, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, and spinach are great sources of iron (you can find more iron-rich foods ). Your prenatal vitamin and possibly a separate iron supplement should fill in the rest; ask your practitioner.
Keep The Water Flowing. Dehydration can lead to preterm labor (something moms-to-be of multiples are already at risk for), so make sure you drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid a day.