How to Eat Healthy with Higher Order Multiple Pregnancies

Photo Credit: Bas Silderhuis

Higher Order Multiple Pregnancies

When you’re carrying three or more babies in your womb, you have a “high order multiple pregnancy.” You are classified in the “high risk” pregnancy group, which means you’re at higher risk for complications. Virtually all women carrying triplets (or more) will go into preterm labor. According to the March of Dimes, the average length of a triplet pregnancy is 32 weeks and for quadruplets, it is 29 weeks (barely in the third trimester). Almost all babies in high order multiple pregnancies are born with a low birth weight – they will weigh less than five and a half pounds.

diet and higher order multiple pregnancy

To improve your babies’ chances of being plumper at birth, you will want to eat right and gain the recommended amount of weight. If you’re carrying triplets, you will want to gain 50 pounds during pregnancy. The more babies you’re carrying, the more weight you need to put on. To achieve this weight gain, women carrying multiples need to consume extra calories.

Since it’s recommended that women carrying single babies consume an average of 300 extra calories, you need to multiply this number by the number of babies you’re carrying. For women with triplet pregnancies, you will need an extra 900 calories (on top of your regular diet). This equals to a total of 3,100 calories each day. If you’re carrying quadruplets, you will need to consume an extra 1,200 calories. Your total caloric intake for the day would equal 3,400 calories!

If you’re carrying high, order multiples you should plan to eat at least five times every day, even when you’re not hungry. You should eat three meals and two big snacks. Make sure to eat plenty of lean meats, cheese, eggs, nuts, and fruits and vegetables. Make those calories count – don’t get empty calories from sweets, soda, and processed foods. Eat as healthy as you can.

A few easy ideas to fill up on calories, while still getting the nutrients and vitamins you need for your growing baby:

  • Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. This one sandwich gives you between 300 to 500 extra calories. (Peanut butter is plentiful in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat – the “good” type of fat. And yes, you do need fat when you’re carrying multiples.)
  • Make yourself a fruit smoothie. In a blender, mix together 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (any of your favorites), and 1 cup of milk. Add more liquid, if needed. This serves two. You may want to share with your partner, or drink it all yourself. Each serving gives you about 300 calories, and it’s full of calcium and other healthy nutrients.
  • Enjoy a granola, yogurt, and berry parfait. Parfaits are easy to put together (you just have to layer the different ingredients in a glass), and it contains the fiber, calcium and protein that you need for your baby. Plus, one parfait can be 400 calories.

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