In my first twin post we talked a little bit about choosing your care provider carefully (or deciding you may not want one!), this week we are going to dive into best practices for a healthy, full term twin pregnancy.
Eating for THREE! Your body still needs all of its nutrition, and each twin's placenta needs optimal nourishment. Typically, when the placenta isn't fully nourished that's when you start to see complications start creeping up. We don't want that! If you've chosen a homebirth midwife, a lot of them begin placing restrictions and ultimatums when complications start showing up.
Before we go any farther, I need to remind you that I am not a licensed medical professional, and I am not endorsed by any three letter entities. What I share is based on my research and experience, I highly recommend you research every decision you make!
What I found to be the most helpful information came from three principles of the Brewer Pregnancy Diet.
These three things are very important to any pregnancy. Your blood volume increases by over 60% during pregnancy, real salt helps keep the fluid in your veins where it belongs. Swelling isn't extra fluid, it's misplaced fluid. Real salt is also full of micronutrients your body needs. Pink Himalayan salt and Celtic Grey salt are examples of real salt. Table salt/sodium= bad! Real Salt= very good.
Protein! The Brewer Pregnancy diet suggests 80g of protein daily for a singleton pregnancy and 40 additional grams daily for each baby. This lands us at 120g for a twin pregnancy. Protein is essential, make sure you are varying the source so you are getting all of the amino acids. Vegetarians/Vegans- Chia seeds and hemp seeds are your BFF! This is admittedly very difficult to achieve. Between not feeling hungry and literally not having room in my abdomen for a meal, I quickly found small meals with protein as the center point to be the key. Another trick, I used a good nutrition app to help me keep track of my intake. It kept track of protein but also had separate tabs for micro and macro nutrients, so I could keep an eye on my vitamin levels.
As far as staying hydrated, you have to put in maximum effort here. Some ideas that are more satisfying than plain water include: bone broth, sole water, and real fruit juice without added sugar. You can also add chia seeds to juice to get a boost of protein in with your drink! Drink to thirst while making sure you are getting enough!
Here is a link to more information about twin pregnancy from a nutritional standpoint- www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/id32.html
Here is a direct link to the page where they discuss the twin "diet" www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/id9.html
The Brewer "diet" is a lot of food and some times difficult to decipher. There are facebook groups for it, those can be rather helpful.
Another newer resource that provides great information is the book Real Food For Pregnancy by Lily Nichols. (link-www.amazon.com/dp/0986295043/?coliid=IS6131L71OGZ5&colid=3HMM9QIR0SGX2&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it )
She also has a follow up book: Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. I highly recommend you check them out!
Nutrition aside, twin pregnancy can be very hard. I've come across some people who have had no indication of twins until they were surprised at a 20 week ultrasound or even at birth.
I myself just had symptoms that were very different from previous pregnancies. With pregnancies 1-4, my only "symptom" was heartburn. Almost immediately following conception up until birth. With pregnancy #5, the twins, everything was different. A little nauseous. A little light-headed. More tired than I had ever felt. Something was definitely different for me. Just passed the first trimester I began to have shortness of breath after any activity, even with things as simple as going up the stairs. The anticipated heartburn followed shortly after, with a vengeance.
Some find their twin pregnancy not much difficult than a singleton pregnancy. Some stop working around 20 weeks while others continue to work up to 38 weeks! Above all your nutrition will be a major key in your health, make sure you keep yourself and your placentas nourished!