Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let them eat ice cream

I knew that carrying twins would be different than a singleton, but it didn't know HOW it would be different. Like most people, I knew that twins are usually born early, but I didn't know why. I also knew that multiple pregnancies are considered more "high risk" than singletons, but really didn't get why that was the case. I asked around and was referred to the book "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads" by Dr. Barbara Luke. Awesome, I love reading just as much as I love being pregnant! Right away, this book had me realizing just what I was in for.

There are several reasons why multiples are born earlier. First, the growth rate for twins is much faster than for one baby, but then it slows down much earlier in a pregnancy. Instead of continuing to develop all the way up to 40 weeks, twins slow down before then. Twins are generally more mature developmentally than a singleton at the same gestational age, and are therefore ready to be born sooner. Second, the placentas tend to age more quickly and start to become less efficient. Finally, the uterus can only stretch so far! By the time a mom of twins is 32 weeks, her uterus is the same size as a singleton mom at 40 weeks. Wow. So the goal is to get those babies all the nutrients and weight gain they need as soon as possible so when they are done cooking, they are as big and healthy as they can be.

Twins, on average, are born around 35 weeks. There are other factors involved with this, including the mom's obstetrical history. Those that have given birth at least once have an advantage and better chance of keeping those babies in longer. Yay!! Also, women over age 30 are significantly more likely to carry twins at least 35 weeks. Hooray!!

So how does this change this pregnancy for me? It hits close to my heart: EATING! You guys know I have a voracious appetite, so this is good news for me. However, the sheer amount of calories I am supposed to consume in order to get these babies nice and fat and happy is pretty staggering. 3500 calories a day. Yep, thats right. But this does not mean just pigging out on anything. This recommended diet is based on a diabetic diet, so there are rules. Here are the guidelines:
*10 servings of low fat or non-fat dairy
*12 servings of lean protein
*6 servings each of fruits and veggies
*12 servings of grains and starchy vegetables
*14 servings of fats, nuts and oils
*8 16oz glasses of water )128 oz a day!!!!
Good news: I love protein and ice cream/milkshakes are highly suggested
Bad news: I am eating constantly and peeing constantly

The goal is to gain the vast majority of my weight before 28 weeks, whereas with a singleton, moms should follow the "slow and steady" approach. Holy cow, it is not easy. But it is worth it. The moms who follow these guidelines have significantly longer pregnancies and bigger, healthier babies. That is the best thing I can do for these babies, so that is the plan I am following. I do love a plan.

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