What To Eat While Pregnant With Twins

Here are four ways to make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need.

Pregnant woman eating a sandwich at home

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A twin pregnancy doesn't exactly mean triple the food. But it may mean more calories, protein, water, and vitamins. For a person carrying multiples, a balanced, nutritious diet is key for the health of the pregnant person and the fetuses.

Below are four ways a twin parent-to-be can ensure they get the nourishment they need throughout their pregnancy.

Bump Up Your Calories

A person who is pregnant with multiples needs an additional 300 calories per day per fetus. So, someone carrying twins should aim to consume an extra 600 calories daily. If you are pregnant with more than triplets, talk to an OB-GYN to figure out a healthy weight during your pregnancy.

While you should never restrict calories, especially during pregnancy with twins, it's helpful to grasp true calorie needs and use that information to guide your choices. Twin pregnancies are often associated with a risk of low birth weight, so it's important to ensure you're getting enough calories and nutrients.

Focus On Protein

While you're carrying twins, consuming adequate protein is critical for fetal development and your needs. 

After the 20th week of pregnancy, during the middle of the second trimester, a pregnant person carrying twins should consume an extra 50 grams of protein per day (25 grams per fetus). Fifty grams of protein is roughly six ounces of roasted chicken breast.

Another way to ensure an optimal protein supply is to get your daily calories from the following sources:

  • Protein: About 20% of your daily calories
  • Fat: About 40% of your daily calories
  • Carbohydrates: About 40% of your daily calories

Also, focus on fiber-rich carbohydrates, like pulses, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.

If you're concerned about consuming too much protein or too little, or if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, you may want to consult with a dietitian. Some research suggests that pregnant people carrying twins who received frequent dietary counseling gave birth to neonates with normal birth weights.

Drink More Water

During pregnancy, staying hydrated is especially important. Water serves several essential functions, such as:

  • Aids with digestion
  • Circulates nutrients in the body
  • Helps form amniotic fluid around the fetus
  • Helps eliminate waste in the body

To stay hydrated, pregnant people need 64 to 96 ounces of water per day. High-liquid foods like yogurt, soup, fruits, and vegetables can meet some of those requirements. But you'll probably still need to drink about eight to 12 cups of plain water daily.

To get into a water-drinking routine, think of your day divided into four blocks:

  1. The time you wake up to mid-morning
  2. Mid-morning to lunchtime
  3. Lunch to mid-afternoon
  4. Mid-afternoon to dinner

Then, with a few caveats, aim to drink two to three cups of water during each block. Cut off your fluids early enough in the evening so you won't be running to the bathroom all night. And remember that if you're active and sweating, you may need to drink a bit more during and after exercise.

Consider Adding a Supplement to Your Diet

Good nutrition is key for every pregnancy. Aside from a routine prenatal vitamin supplement, some experts recommend that people carrying twins consider taking additional magnesium and zinc doses. But other research has found that additional vitamins may be unnecessary.

Another supplement that some experts recommend is an omega-3 fatty acid. The nutrient may reduce the risk of pre-term birth and low birth weight, which often occur with twin pregnancies.

Choosing meals and snacks with nutrient-packed whole foods is one of the best places to start. But always talk to a healthcare provider before taking a supplement. They can let you know whether you need supplements of specific nutrients to hit recommended goals.

Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

Because the body experiences immune system changes during pregnancy, pregnant person and their fetus are at an increased risk of foodborne illness. So, it's best to avoid certain foods, such as:

  • Unpasteurized juice, cider, or milk
  • Raw eggs (or foods that contain raw eggs, such as eggnog, tiramisu, and homemade ice cream)
  • Pre-made meat or seafood salads
  • Undercooked meat and poultry
  • Raw dough or batter
  • Raw seafood

A Quick Review

If you are pregnant with twins, you may need extra calories, protein, water, and vitamins to ensure that you and your babies are getting enough energy and nutrients. 

If unsure where to start, consider consulting with a dietitian if you need personalized guidance and support. They can help you meet your nutrient needs not only during pregnancy but also during postpartum breastfeeding needs.

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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Multiple pregnancy.

  2. Wierzejska RE. Review of dietary recommendations for twin pregnancy: does nutrition science keep up with the growing incidence of multiple gestations? Nutrients. 2022;14(6):1143. doi:10.3390/nu14061143

  3. Department of Agriculture. Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted.

  4. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. How much water should I drink during pregnancy?.

  5. Department of Health & Human Services. People at risk: Pregnant women.

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