May 29, 2015

My Best Tips for a Happy and Healthy {Twin} Pregnancy

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The hardest parts about being pregnant with twins (aside from the initial shock and figuring out how you'll afford it) are making sure that you eat and drink enough, stay active and get enough rest. Some days, even in the beginning, the exhaustion and pain were so bad that I could barely sweep the floor after lunch at the daycare without needing to sit down. I was constantly starving and thirsty which led to feeling nauseous even though I didn't really have morning sickness. Growing two babies almost literally took everything I had and it was a full time job just keeping myself as healthy possible and staying sane at the same time.

So, how exactly do you take the best care of yourself and your babies? Read on to find out.

Eat. Eat Everything (good for you) and All The Time:

Everyone knows that pregnant women eat a lot but when you're carrying two it's insane how much and how often you need to eat. My body was giving everything to my babies and no matter how much I ate I still struggled to gain enough weight, at least according to Dr. Luke and the book When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads. While I love this book there were times where I felt like no matter how much I did I could not keep up with how much I should have been eating. The overwhelming message of this book though is truth - Eat. Eat. Eat! As long as you're eating healthily (read: do not live on soda, chips or other crap, you will feel like crap) majority of the time you cannot eat too much. Do not give one second of thought to the people or even doctors who warn you about gaining too much weight. As Dr. Luke points out - you cannot gain too much with twins - every pound is building stronger, healthier babies!

I needed to eat every two hours or nausea would set in. Once that happened I could only stomach crackers until it passed. I couldn't just eat anything either, I craved protein, dairy and carbs like crazy.

Here's What I Ate:

Every morning I would have oatmeal or eggs, sausage or bacon, a bagel or toast and a banana plus one of my protein packed smoothies (find the recipe here).

Two hours later I would have a "snack" that usually consisted of trail mix, a cheese stick, peppers or carrots and an apple or grapes.

Lunch would be a tuna, egg, pb&j or grilled cheese sandwich or a chicken and veggie quesadilla or burrito with a huge salad, a protein shake and berries or a banana.

Two hours later another snack of a granola bar, yogurt, cheese and crackers or whatever the kids at daycare were having.

Dinner was grown man portions of chicken, fish, pasta or whatever we were having with lots of steamed veggies and always a few pieces of bread and butter.

Two hours later another snack although it was more of a dessert with either ice cream or fruit and yogurt or a bowl of cereal.

You're probably thinking how the hell did she eat that much. I did, and then some. And, despite eating all this I still found myself snacking again around 11pm and waking up starving at 7am. I kept crackers in my nightstand my entire pregnancy for the middle of the night and early morning hunger so the nausea wouldn't hit before I got a chance to eat something real.

When I developed gestational diabetes it was harder to eat as much while watching my carb intake but I just swapped out the cereal, juice, some of the fruit and bread for more yogurt, cheese, veggies and protein. I started eating beans which I had always hated. I limited myself to just one slice of pizza and left the crust but followed it with a salad. My numbers stayed low but I still felt full and satisfied. Contrary to what a lot of women (including myself) think at first, GD is not the end of the world.

The bottom line is to eat, eat, eat. Even when you don't feel like you could or should eat anymore - eat. You are feeding three people and your body is taking everything good from you to give to your babies so give it what it needs!

Drink. Like Water is Going Out of Style:

Years before I was pregnant a friend of mine was hospitalized while pregnant for dehydration. She got really sick and needed to be monitored constantly afterwards. This terrified me as every time I had seen her she had her water bottle with her. I worried so much about remembering to drink enough water but when it came down to it I didn't really have to force it. I was so thirsty all the time and felt like I could never quench it. I drank over 200 oz. of water a day. So much that my LifeFactory Glass Water Bottle became my little side kick and the kids at the daycare would drop everything and rush it over to me if I forgot it somewhere.

I would wake up in the middle of the night to pee and feel so parched I'd down a full 8 oz. knowing full well I would be needing to pee again in an hour. It didn't matter though, I knew that this was one of the most important things I could do . They're not kidding when they say water is one of the most important parts of a healthy pregnancy. According to What To Expect drinking enough water helps your body absorb all the vital nutrients, bulks up the amniotic fluid and keeps the pipes running clean, which is ever so important when you digestive tract slows down and things start to get uncomfortable. Even many of those dreaded pregnancy symptoms - headaches, nausea, overheating and fatigue can be helped by drinking enough water. You don't have to give up your morning coffee and you can have a juice or a soda a day if you really need it but it is absolutely vital that you drink water all day, every day. I swear my constant consumption of H2O is one of the reasons my pregnancy wasn't an absolute nightmare. So drink, drink, drink your weight in water! And when you feel like you can't possibly drink anymore, drink some more. Your baby and your body will thank you, even though your bladder might not!

Move. Stay Active as Often and as Long as You Can:

Ok, this one was tough for me. I am not huge into fitness as it is so when I found out that I should be "working out" at least 3 times a week while pregnant I felt a little anxious. Some days I was too tired to move, how was I supposed to get up and work out? Well, the sad truth is I never really did. But, I did stay as active as I could. I worked in daycare so I was up and down and moving all around right up until I left my job at 6 months. Unless you've done it you can't possibly know how physically demanding it can be caring for 12 munchkins. I was more than active enough to feel like I didn't really need to do scheduled work outs. Same goes if you've got older kids at home!

When I left work I made it a point to do stretches, yoga and walking every day, even if just for 10 minutes. It was a struggle towards the end but I really did feel better when I was moving around. Also, even just a five minute walk around the block helped manage the diabetes and keep my numbers low. I was honest with my Doctors and they understood my limitations but encouraged me to do as much as I could. I downloaded prenatal yoga sessions and would use those to unwind after a long day. I stretched every morning before work which helped with back and muscle aches. When it all became too much I considered walking from the couch to the fridge a work out because carrying around the added 35 lbs. certainly made it feel like one! Do what you can,but don't feel too bad if it's not much!

Rest. Again, as Often and as Much as You Can:

It's a sad truth that enough sleep is tough to attain while pregnant despite the fact that you face many months of sleep deprivation after baby arrives. Even very early on hormonal changes make your body go crazy causing some lovely sleep disruptions like nausea, heartburn, back aches and needing to pee every hour. Add to this the strain of a growing belly in the later months and it can be almost impossible to fall and stay asleep. I invested very early on in a pregnancy pillow that I still consider to be a lifesaver. Sure, you could just use a regular pillow or a body pillow but I swear by the Snoogle Total Body Pillow by Leachco. It was absolutely perfect for me. It cradled my belly, supported my back and head and ensured I woke up well rested all the way through the end.

Night sleep isn't all that matters either. It is vital that you are physically resting your body during the day too. I had the luxury of having a job that not only kept me active enough but also allowed me to rest. Oh, rest time, one of the true joys of working daycare. Every day from 12-3 the babes went to sleep and I was lucky enough to have a boss and assistant who understood how important it was for me to rest so I took a cat-nap while the kiddies slept and they kept watch. The parents all knew, several of them walked in on me snuggling my niece or another child and no one ever complained - they knew I was growing two people!

If you don't have a job where you can really take a nap, talk to your boss about how important it is to rest and see about just laying down on a couch for 15 minutes or going to your car to recharge in the middle of a busy day. Getting enough rest is just as important as eating, drinking and exercising enough, especially towards the end when just walking up a flight of stairs is enough to wipe you out!  Catch a few zzzs whenever and wherever you can and do not ever feel guilty if the most you can do is walk from the bed to the couch, especially in those later months.

Bonus Tip: Take Your Vitamins!

One more thing just for good measure: Take a good prenatal. I found that the ones prescribed by my Doctor made me nauseous and I hated taking them until I discovered the wonder of a food based vitamin called Rainbow Light Prental One Multivitamin. I swear they gave me more energy, helped keep the nausea at bay and kept me feeling good! I still take them as often as I can remember to help get the girls all their essential vitamins and nutrients while we nurse.


Carrying twins can sometimes feel like a never ending uphill battle where your own needs constantly take a back seat to theirs. But if you eat, drink, move and rest enough I promise you that not only will your babies be stronger and healthier, but you too will feel better and hopefully have an easier pregnancy. Well, as easy as carrying two could possibly be!

What are some of your tips for a happy healthy pregnancy?



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