profile picture of Excerpted from The Baby Bump, Twins and Triplets Edition
Excerpted from The Baby Bump, Twins and Triplets Edition

What To Eat While Pregnant With Twins And Triplets

You know you need to eat more than a woman who's carrying just one baby, but exactly how much more? And what should you eat? Here's the meal deal.

If you’re expecting twins, guidelines say you should consume 300 extra calories per day in the first trimester, 680 in the second trimester and 900 in the third. If you’re carrying triplets, eat 450 extra calories in the first trimester, 1,020 in the second trimester and 1,350 in the third.

Keep in mind that the sources of the calories are even more important than the number you consume. Get 20 to 25 percent of your calories from protein, 45 to 50 percent of your calories from carbs (but stay away from white carbs—moms carrying multiples are at increased risk for gestational diabetes and 30 percent of your calories from fats.

ZINC

How much
30 mg per day.

Why
Zinc levels drop off during pregnancy, so make sure to supplement your diet with this essential nutrient that is linked to a lower risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight and prolonged labor.

Try
Black-eyed peas are a great choice.

FOLIC ACID

How much
600 µg a day.

Why
Even before you get pregnant, you should start increasing this one—folic acid helps lower the risk of birth defects.

Try
No midnight cravings for spinach or asparagus? Try an orange for 50 µg a pop.

CALCIUM

How much
If you’re expecting twins, get 1,500 mg a day, and get 2,000 mg a day if you’re carrying triplets.

Why
It’s extremely important to get enough calcium when pregnant. This essential nutrient can reduce the severity and lower the overall risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight and preterm delivery.

Try
Some yogurt has 450 mg per cup, which is more than the calcium in a serving of milk.

MAGNESIUM

How much
300 mg per day.

Why
This decreases the risk of pre-mature labor and aids in developing babies’ nervous systems.

Try
Sprinkling some almonds on your cereal! Nuts are a great source of magnesium—a quarter cup of almonds has 98 mg of magnesium.

PROTEIN

How much
Calculate your nonpregnant protein needs (an average-size woman needs 70 g of protein a day) and add 25 g of protein per baby.

Why
Your body needs a lot more protein now to help the fetuses grow and ensure that babies’ muscles develop properly.

Try
A lean-beef or chicken burger yields 30 g of protein.

DHA

How much
There are no specific guidelines for how much DHA a mom of multiples should be getting each day, but some studies say you should be aiming for 600 mg per day.

Why
Higher levels of DHA in newborns correspond with higher birth weights. It’s also associated with higher IQs, advanced motor skills and fewer neurological problems later in life.

Try
A 4-oz. serving of salmon packs a punch, with 130 mg of DHA.

IRON

How much
30 mg per day.

Why
Not enough iron can impair babies’ growth and increase the risk of hypertension, preterm delivery and low birth weight.

Try
A bowl of fortified cereal—at 10 mg, it provides more iron than a serving of beef.

VITAMIN D

How much
25 µg per day.

Why
Vitamin D helps increase blood circulation in the placenta and aids in calcium absorption so your babies will have improved bone mass.

Try
Drink a fortified cup of orange juice, or go outside and get some sun for a few minutes every day—this vitamin can be absorbed just through sun exposure.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Pregnancy Nutrition and Exercise

Average Birth Weight for Twins, Triplets and Quads?

Pregnancy Checklist for Multiples