Nutrition For Multiple Pregnancy
Good Nutrition Is Key To Pregnancy Health
A multiple pregnancy is automatically categorized as high-risk, especially since the incidence of preterm labor and low birth weight of babies is so common. A pregnant woman has control over one of the prime factors in high-risk complications, and if she knows how to deal with it, then her babies and her pregnancy health will benefit. That one thing is her diet. Good nutrition is the most important and influential step a woman can take in ensuring her pregnancy has a good outcome. Obstetricians know that one of the key factors in high-risk obstetrical complications is poor nutrition and that multiple gestation carries with it an increased nutritional stress for both mother and babies.
The Role of Protein In Pregnancy
There are some key nutrients a woman can be sure are in her diet that will play an integral role in the health and development of her babies. These nutrients are protein, calcium, iron, and calories. By being mindful that they are in her diet, a mother can help build stronger, healthier babies. Protein probably ranks as the most important of the group. Proteins have the two important functions of acting as building material and regulating chemicals in the body. Hair, nails, bones, muscles, and blood, are all made primarily of protein and a body grows and functions because of protein enzymes. Blood volume is manufactured and sustained by proteins and the babies are properly nourished because of proteins in the blood. The recommended amount of protein necessary to properly sustain a twin pregnancy is 110 grams per day and 140-150 grams a day for triplets. Excellent sources of protein abound, so there is no reason why a mother should be without them. Lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts, whole grains, eggs, cheese, and other forms of dairy all supply quality protein. When they are included in the diet, a woman is better able to ensure she is getting the right amount of protein.
Staying Hydrated and Getting Enough Calories
Blood volume increases by 70-80 percent by the end of a twin gestation, and it will increase even more if the multiple is triplets. Protein intake helps to build the blood volume, but it also requires adequate hydration. Especially in the case of multiple pregnancy, drinking enough water and non-sugar fluids is important. Many women who are carrying multiples find themselves totally wiped out by midday. Although it is certainly due in part to the extra weight she is carrying, it may also be that caloric intake is below the recommended level. When a woman is carrying twins, her daily calorie intake (preferably from quality calories) should be about 3,000 calories. That sounds like a lot, but if the calories are not high enough, then there is not enough energy to build the babies and keep moving through the day.
The Increased Need For Calcium and Iron
Calcium is critical in the last part of the pregnancy because that is when the babies' bones need it most. If the mother is not getting enough calcium, then the babies will take it from her bones. This has far-reaching implications for later life, during menopause. Anemia is not uncommon in multiple pregnancies as well, which means iron-which is vital for oxygenating the blood that goes to the babies-is low. It is difficult to get all the iron a woman needs from her diet, so supplementation may be necessary.