Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eating for 3

After seeing the twins' amazing heartbeats, I picked up a book that people say is the "Bible" for multiple pregnancies. It is called When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein. I dove into it, determined to have a "healthy multiple pregnancy" as the cover suggests and have pretty much finished it. It is written in a realistic way that addresses concerns, but doesn't sugarcoat the risks and challenges in a multiple pregnancy. She covers everything from selective reduction and screening to breastfeeding and birth.

She runs a "multiples" clinic where the babies have much higher than national average birth weights and go closer to 40 weeks. She conducted more than one large-scale study that showed a mother's weight gain early in the pregnancy is the most important indicator for healthy newborns. For example, she states a mother of twins should eat 3500 calories (!) and have gained 24 pounds by 20 weeks. Mothers who hit that weight goal were much less likely to have preterm labor or smaller babies. Apparently, while pregnant with multiples, all concern of heart disease and general gluttony go out the window.

When I say that her focus is weight gain and rest, I am not kidding. She has BMI tables, and suggests if you are at all underweight, you need to gain about 50 pounds. Well, I fall on the border of underweight and normal, so I am honestly going to try to gain 45 or so. It sounds CRAZY to me, since I gained 18 with my daughter, but I am trying to do absolutely everything I can to ensure those twins are nourished. My daughter was a relatively small 6 pounds, 7 ounces at full term, and most twins are born between 35-38 weeks, so there are less weeks to gain the weight they need. With my many aversions right now and hyper-sensitive nose, a lot less food sounds good than usually does. I would normally relish this chance to eat whatever I want, but I am very averse to all kinds of things, including meat, candy and cookies, seafood and chocolate. I know, what a weirdo, right?

Does this amount of weight freak me out? Yes, yes it does. I weigh myself daily, pregnant or not, and am a bit on the weight conscious side, so this does scare me a bit. After the birth of my daughter, I was back to my normal weight after two weeks (though things sagged and were softer) and if I gain 40+ pounds, that probably will not be the case. That is something I will let go of in exchange for heavier and therefore healthier twins. I don't expect them to weight 10 pounds each, but at least 6 would be cut their risk for many health problems. Stretch marks, here we come.

I keep telling my husband I will eat more "when it is for sure twins," but really, it is twins now, and they need nutrition now. If I am left with twins at 24 weeks, that means I have to gain (since I am almost 7 weeks) 24 lbs in the next 17 weeks, and waiting until the NT scan would only leave me with nine weeks to gain all that, so here I am, chowing down now. I am starting to pooch out already, and I've gained about a pound, but my pants are already tighter in the waist... could this be? Will I be in a bella band at 8 weeks? Anyone with multiples show early?

Here are some of my weight gaining strategies:

1. No exercise, really. Well, I can't anyway, because of the lingering OHSS.
2. Doughnuts. Krispy Kreme is down the hill.
3. Milk shakes. Drinking calories can be easier than packing in all the food.
4. Eating out. I consume more calories dining out than when I cook at home.
5. I've started drinking OJ- lots of calories.
6. Clearly, I need more strategies, but 3500 is A LOT and it is hard to do.

Off to contemplate dinner. Onion rings and grilled cheese sound awfully good.

Only 4 days until we get to see our twins again... eek!


  1. Holy moly -- that's a lot of calories! You should totally Google some stories about actors having to gain weight quickly for movie roles. :)

    I think if I had to gain weight quickly I would eat pizza every day. Maybe more than once.

    Good luck!

  2. When I was pg w/ my twins I started every morning w/ a glass of choc milk (calories, protein, and calcium). Also, I added cheese to EVERYTHING. I tried to have an egg w/ cheese every day. It was hard to know how much of the weight I gained was "healthy weight," b/c I gained 90 pounds when all was said and done. But a LOT of it was water. I had preeclampsia and lost 60 lbs w/in one week of giving birth. BUT, my kids were a very good weight! And who doesn't like chocolate milk?

  3. Shit! 26 pounds by 20 weeks?

    I have only gained 10 and I am 20 weeks. I feel huge and I eat a lot. Enjoy this while you can- trying to GAIN weight. I love food so this would be a fun challenge for me. I've never heard that about twin pregnancies but it makes sense. You make me feel like I should go eat something. . .

  4. Protien, protien and more of it!!! That is the absolute best way to gain weight for the twins... Protien shakes, almonds by the handful, etc....Good luck and way to go for you already having read the "multiples bible"!!

  5. I have the exact opposite problem! I need to drop 40 pounds. So eat, my friend, for four - and let me every mouth watering morsel.

  6. I have heard many docs of twin mommies say that book is a little on the extreme side and not to stress too much about it. You should def. hear what your ob or peri has to say. I am jealous though - I have always had to watch my weight and I sure my ob is going to restrict my weight gain with this pg.
    Enjoy the protein and milkshakes :)

  7. Lucky you! :-D I'd love to consume 3500 calories a day, and I am not yet pregnant. :-D

  8. Okay, not to scare your off the book or anything, but I tried to follow it with the triplets and I kind of wish now that I hadn't. I think I gained too much weight too quickly. Granted the boys were big--they always measured at least a week ahead of schedule--but of course now I question whether they were TOO big, or I was too big, and that's why Adam's water broke early (or why my cervix started to funnel...). Ridiculous stuff to worry about now I know, but hindsight being what it is...I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know that I would necessarily sweat the book too much. Like Emily said, it's a little extreme and nothing you should stress over. Eat what you're comfortable with and what feels healthy to you, but don't feel as though you have to stuff yourself. Sending you lots of vibes for a long and healthy pregnancy!

  9. I would love that challenge!! I would be able to eat like my husband eats and not worry about it;) Eat some ice cream for me!! ((HUGS))

  10. I like that book more than the other twin books I have, but I know that the targets are just not going to happen for me. As a vegetarian, the protein target is out of the question -- when I try hard, I can manage almost 100 grams of protein in a day, but the book wants me to eat almost twice that.

    Luckily I am always hungry, which helps, but all of the fattening sweets I normally like aren't appealing to me (and when I try to eat them I can't take more than a bite). There are other fatty foods I normally stay away from, like chips or cheese popcorn, that I'm having no problem eating, so that's good. I still try to eat mostly nutritious foods, but pure calories have their place too, according to Dr. Luke. Trying to gain weight is such a weird problem to have!

    I am not worrying about losing the weight after. Nursing two babies will probably expedite the process. Plus, I'd rather be fat with healthy babies than be the skinniest mom in the NICU.

  11. I gained 50 pounds with my pregnancy (by eating alot of HEALTHY food) And I Had the babes on a the folowing friday I had already lost 40 pounds (by lots of breast feeding) So don't feel over whelmed by this number of pounds its recommended to gain because if its done with healthy foods (not fatty foods) than you should loose the weight fairly quickly. Will be praying for you and the twins...all the best and goodluck with the weight gain.

  12. I also used that book for my twins. I tried to follow it, but I didn't make myself crazy. I ate when I was hungry, I drank mounds of water (I had to pee all the time regardless, so might as well). Indulged in milk shakes and stuff. But didn't make myself nuts eating if not hungry, etc. I think your body also knows what it needs, so there's a balance. And like R, I gained a ton, and much of it was gone within 2 weeks of birth.