"You can apply some calorie formulas, but there's no way you can really provide the kind of calories that six babies need. We set the bar pretty aggressive for her, because she had no fat stores on her body to speak of when she got pregnant," he says. Carroll had been on a 4,000 calorie a day diet in the months leading up the birth, but a month before delivery, she was hospitalized and given an extra 2,000 calories a day via IV drip.
"6000 calories a day is definitely not an overestimate of the calories needed with sextuplet pregnancies," says Dr. Kelly Ross, director of Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. "We like to see these women gain between 70 and 100 pounds. Bigger multiples tend to be healthier at every gestation, thus caloric intake as paramount to a good outcome."
In addition to the IV and a high-protein, high-fat diet, Carroll was given six times the amount of folic acid normally recommended for pregnant women, alongside extra iron, vitamin D and magnesium. For the final month before the infants' birth, she was receiving around the clock extra nutrition via IV.
"Everything was medically selected and very nutritious, though rumor has it that Krispy Kremes and Starbursts played a pretty big role as a supplement," McKenzie says.