Most moms-to-be realize that "eating for two" doesn't mean they get to eat twice as much, but what's a healthy diet for moms of multiples?
Women carrying a single baby are advised to add 300 calories to their daily diet. On top of that, women carrying multiples need another 150 to 300 calories for each additional baby, says Ellie Krieger, R.D., nutritionist and new mom. That translates to 450 to 600 extra calories a day for twins, and 600 to 900 for triplets.
But eating 600 calories' worth of marshmallows probably isn't the best way to help your babies grow. "The key to pregnancy nutrition is that you have to get the most nutrient-dense foods possible, because you need a lot of extra nutrients without a lot of extra calories. This becomes even more important when you're carrying multiples," says Krieger.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends getting those extra calories from calcium- and protein-rich snacks. A few great choices (all about 300 calories): a cup of lowfat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit; two eggs and a piece of whole-grain toast; a cup of cooked black or pinto beans topped with low-fat, pasteurized cheddar cheese; or four fig bars with a glass of skim milk.
Although increasing your daily calorie intake with healthy foods should provide the extra vitamins and minerals your babies need to develop, your physician may also prescribe additional prenatal vitamins and iron supplements for multiples. "The bottom line," says Krieger, "is that you want to gain weight appropriately." Follow the guidelines on the right from the March of Dimes, track your weight, and increase or decrease your diet accordingly. If you're feeling overly tired or if you're gaining too much or too little weight, talk to your doctor.