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!