Healthy Twin Pregnancy: Eating for Three!

Healthy Twin Pregnancy: Eating for Three!
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More and more women are pregnant with twins or multiple babies these days. This has been brought about by delayed childbearing and modern methods to treat infertility. When expecting two babies, healthy eating, frequent visits to your obstetrician, and special care must be practiced to avoid complications. Healthy eating when pregnant with twins is of utmost importance – babies need all the minerals, vitamins, and energy they can get to stay in good health.

Nutritional Needs

pregnant woman

You are not just eating for two but for three. Eat nutritionally balanced foods plus 300 nutrient-dense calories daily. A normal weight gain for twin pregnancy is about 35-45 pounds (single pregnancy only requires 25-25 pounds). In print, eating 300 additional calories may sound easy, but for some women carrying twins, this is harder than it sounds. They do not feel as hungry as they used to, because the babies are pushing on their stomachs as they develop, limiting the quantity of food that they can eat comfortably.

Vitamins and Minerals Needed

Vitamins and minerals contribute to healthy hearing, eyesight, and mental development. They also play an important role in the development of babies’ organs, muscles, and tissues. Women who are carrying twins should eat more of the following nutrients and in amounts required to ensure both babies get their fair share.

Fiber. Multiple pregnancies make women more likely to experience constipation. Most are advised by their obstetricians to take fiber supplements, which can be purchased from any pharmacy.

Folic acid is indispensable, especially in the first trimester. Folic acid deficiency can result in neural tube defects. Twin pregnancy requires the same amount of folic acid (about 800 micrograms daily) as single pregnancy.

Iron. Get as much as iron as you can. Always have your iron level tested during prenatal checkups. The increase of blood flow when carrying twins can decrease the iron levels dramatically, bringing about anemia.

Calcium. Normally, pregnant women need about 1000mg of calcium daily. However, expectant mothers of twin need 1200mg of calcium or more a day – this is the calcium equivalent of four glasses of milk.

Tips on Gaining Weight

  • Drink your calories. Drinking fruit smoothies or milkshakes while chatting with friends makes it easier to get your mind off the pressure of consuming additional calories.
  • Consume foods that are loaded with calories and nutrients such as peanut butter, yogurt, and nuts. Focus on foods you really like, so you do not feel pressured about getting those much-needed minerals.
  • Eat frequently in smaller portions throughout the day. This way, you are not feeling too stuffed, too fast.

Superfoods for Twin Pregnancy

Healthy eating when carrying twins means focusing on nutritional needs, but does not mean double desserts or two servings of meals. The key is making calories count, and consume calories with nutritional value. Here are some super foods favored by many mothers-to-be.

![spinach salad with egg](

**Spinach is a powerhouse veggie rich in fiber, vitamin C, lutein, bioflavonoids, and carotenoids. Eat it fresh or add to pizza or pasta.
  • Eggs are high in protein and choline, which improves memory and brain function. Opt for eggs enhanced with Omega -3, as this promotes brain development and vision. Eat eggs for breakfast, incorporate with meals, or add hard-boiled eggs to sandwiches and salads.
  • Hummus is made from garbanzo beans (chickpeas,) and originated in Middle East. It is packed with non-animal protein, folic acid, manganese, and fiber. Enjoy this dip with whole grain crackers, pita bread, and veggies, or you can use it instead of mayonnaise in salads and sandwiches.
  • Peanut butter is loaded with thiamin, potassium, zinc, and niacin. It is nutritionally better than margarine or butter.


**Papayas are high in protein, proteolytic enzymes, which aid in protein digestion, and vitamin C. They can help alleviate morning sickness. When eating fruits, like papaya, wash thoroughly to avoid chemicals and bacterial contamination.
  • Shrimp: in general, seafoods are very nutritious, but because of elevated chemicals and mercury levels, some are not considered safe. Shrimp, however, gets the green light. They are low in fat, but high in protein, vitamin D, and selenium. Prepare with pasta or salad. Never eat them raw; save ceviche or sushi for a treat after giving birth.
  • Trail mix is a delicious protein snack loaded with vitamin E, selenium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. Combine trail mix with other snacks like dried cherries, raisins, multigrain cereal, sunflower seeds, and mini pretzels.

![yogurt with strawberries](

**A chicken sandwich is low in fat, high in protein, and a safer option than deli sandwiches, which have been associated with listeriosis, a bacteria that is harmful to a fetus.
  • Yogurt is not only yummy, but also rich in calcium and protein. However, avoid yogurts with sugar and fat enhancements like chocolate chips and candy sprinkles. Start with nonfat or plain yogurt, and then add your own honey, fruit, granola, and nuts.
  • Raisin Bran and most cereals are rich in folic acid and vitamin B. Serve with milk to cover calcium needs.

Keep Yourself Healthy

bundles of joy

Although twin pregnancy may be considered high risk, this is not something to stress about. Like any normal pregnancy, just take care of yourself, watch what you eat, and exercise with caution. Healthy eating when pregnant with twins includes loading up on fiber, protein, folic acid, and calcium, while keeping hydrated. Pregnancy is a wonderful event, and you should enjoy the experience while waiting and preparing for your bundle of joys to be born.

For more information about pregnancy nutrition, please read Is Spicy Food Safe for Pregnant Women?


This is not medical advice and is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Check with your obstetrician first before following any advice you have read on Consult your obstetrician before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed to you.

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