At 17 weeks, you’re getting closer to your anatomy scan, which means you can find out the sex of your babies if you haven’t done so already. It’s perfectly normal to be undecided about whether you’d like to know in advance. You may choose to find out on the spot, have the technician write it down for you, or keep it a surprise until birth. Whatever feels right for you is the best choice!
Since you can’t actually peek inside to see what your babies are up to until your ultrasound appointment, we’re here to offer a glimpse. Let’s explore what’s going on with your little ones this week, as well as some helpful tips for making this week a great one for you.
What’s new with your babies?
Early on in your babies’ development, their skeletons were made up of soft cartilage, which is beginning to harden into bone. Your babies are moving their joints more fluidly now, which means they’re able to extend their arms and legs. Think you feel little kicks or nudges instead of just flutters? Their limbs are still quite small, but it’s definitely possible to feel movement at this stage, which is one of the most exciting aspects of pregnancy.
Your babies are growing quickly and now weigh about 6 ounces each — roughly the size of a pomegranate!
How are you doing?
At this stage, many pregnant people feel quite well, but fatigue and some discomfort is normal. The physical ailments that come with the first trimester are sometimes replaced with some mental stress during the second trimester, as parents begin to organize the logistics of having multiples.
Whether these are your first babies or you have older children at home, your family dynamic is about to… well, multiply. This may mean having to get a new car, or even rearrange your home to accommodate your little ones. It’s best to start thinking about this now when you’re feeling energetic enough to make these adjustments rather than later in pregnancy when you’re solely craving relaxation.
If you haven’t done so already, now is also a good time to start thinking about childcare, if applicable. Finding a provider to care for multiples can be more challenging than with a singleton, so you’ll want to see if you can get on a list well in advance if you’ll be needing childcare for your little ones.
Even if you’re planning to provide all childcare yourself, it’ll be worthwhile to chat with your friends and family about establishing a support system to assist you with your babies. We know you’re going to rock it, but breaks are necessary for all parents.
Will testing take place this week?
Your anatomy scan is likely still a few weeks away, as most providers prefer to do this ultrasound closer to 20 weeks. If you’ve chosen to do a Multiple Marker Screen (MMS, a.k.a. Triple or Quad Screen Test), your blood will be drawn sometime between now and your ultrasound appointment. This test measures specific proteins and hormones in your blood and will give a clearer picture of your babies’ risk for neural tube defects. This test requires careful interpretation if you have two or more babies, so speak to your provider if you have any questions.
Let’s plan ahead!
At this point, you’ll want to pin down an OB or midwife and hospital for delivering your babies. With multiples, you’ll usually be delivering in the operating room whether you’re planning on a vaginal or cesarean delivery. This is because multiples are twice as likely to require a cesarean, so your birth team will want to be prepared in the event that need occurs.
Since multiples are often born earlier than singletons, they might require some NICU time, which is very common and nothing to fret about. Speak to your healthcare provider about the hospital’s NICU and, remember, it’s totally fine to make a switch at any point during your pregnancy if you’re not comfortable with the level of care being offered. The ball is in your court!
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Multifetal gestation: Twin, triplet, and higher order multifetal pregnancies.” National Guideline Clearinghouse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2014. Retrieved May 15 2021.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Twin pregnancy: What multiples mean for mom.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, December 13 2014. Retrieved May 15 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/twin-pregnancy/art-20048161.
- “FAQ: Multiple pregnancy.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, July 2015. Retrieved May 15 2021.