Mon 5 Dec 2011
Increasing your protein intake is critically important if you are pregnant with twins.
Why Increase Protein intake in your Twin Pregnancy?
- Increase your chances of carrying to term
- Increase your babies’ birth weight
How much protein do you really need if you are expecting twins?
While recommendations for protein intake for singleton pregnancies are right around 80 grams per day, protein intake recommendations for twin pregnancy are much higher. Upwards of 130 grams of protein per day is recommended for moms expecting twins, with some researchers recommending more than 170 grams of protein per day for your twin pregnancy. Beware, out-dated information is still floating around with much lower twin pregnancy protein recommendations. It is best to check with your doctor for the most current recommendations. If your doctor recommends less, be sure to dig deeper to understand the recommendation.
Why so much?
Preterm and/or low birth weight babies are much more likely to have health problems at birth resulting in the need to spend time in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit).
Researchers have found that there is a direct correlation between protein intake and weight at birth. Low protein intake typically results in low birth weight. For singletons, each 10 gram increase in daily protein intake by mom correlates to 1/2 pound increase in baby’s birth weight.
What birth weight is considered to be “low”?
According to the March of Dimes, babies born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2,500 grams) are considered to be low birth weight. These babies are at increased risk for serious health problems as newborns, lasting disabilities and even death.
What are some good sources of protein?
- Lean meats such as Turkey, Chicken (skinned), Pork, and Lean Beef are a great source at an average 7 grams per ounce
- Nuts/Seeds including peanut butter at 4-5 grams per tablespoon; Sunflower Seeds 6 grams 1/4 cup; Pumpkin Seeds 8 grams 1/4 cup
- Milk Products milk 8 oz = 8 grams!, cheese 6-10 grams oz, yogurt 8-12 grams/serving, cottage cheese 1/2 cup=15 grams, powdered whey
- Fish 6 – 10 grams per oz — but don’t overdo tuna as it contains mercury
- Eggs 1 large = 6 grams
- Beans 7 – 10 grams per 1/2 cup / Soy 14 grams 1/2 cup / Tofu 1/2 cup = 20 grams
Any steps you can take to increase your protein intake during your twin pregnancy will pay off — in bigger babies. So go ahead and have another serving of milk or that extra piece of cheese — you’ll enjoy it, your babies will benefit, and so will you!