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Optimal nutrition for improved twin pregnancy outcome

Twin pregnancies contribute a disproportionate degree to perinatal morbidity, partly because of increased risks of low birth weight and prematurity. Although the cause of the morbidity is multifactorial, attention to twin-specific maternal nutrition may be beneficial in achieving optimal fetal growth and birth weight. Achievement of body mass index (BMI)-specific weight gain goals, micronutrient and macronutrient supplementation specific to the physiology of twin gestations, and carbohydrate-controlled diets are recommended for optimal twin growth and pregnancy outcomes. The daily recommended caloric intake for normal-BMI women with twins is 40-45 kcal/kg each day, and iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, and zinc supplementation is recommended beyond a usual prenatal vitamin. Daily supplementation of docosahexaenoic acid and vitamin D should also be considered. Multiple gestation-specific prenatal care settings with a focus on nutritional interventions improve birth weight and length of gestation and should be considered for the care of women carrying multiples. Antepartum lactation consultation can also improve the rate of postpartum breastfeeding in twin pregnancies. Twin gestation-specific nutritional interventions seem effective in improving the outcome of these pregnancies and should be emphasized in the antepartum care of multiple gestations. This review examines the available evidence and offers recommendations for twin pregnancy-specific nutritional interventions.